Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Yesterday I published an article on the 2i's coffee bar in London, a place where teenagers went along to listen to aspiring young rock 'n roll stars playing live music. This was from the 1950's through to 1970. During this period coffee bars sprang up in most towns and cities throughout Britain. Jukeboxes were not only found in cafes, they were installed in clubs, public houses and seaside arcades. Their popularity made them a ready source of income as the music they played had to be paid for, and they started appearing in any space where people gathered for entertainment. It was now possible to hear all the latest pop music without the necessity for live bands. The jukebox was an American phenomenon that swept the land. So what is the history behind the jukebox.

In 1877, Thomas Edison invented the phonograph a coin operated music machine that played music from a wax cylinder. In 1889, Louis Glass installed a coin-operated phonograph in his Palais Royale Saloon located in San Francisco. This became known as a nickelodeon. This was followed in 1906 by the 'Automatic Entertainer' invented by John Gabel, a music machine that not only played 78-rpm records, but offered several selections of records that could be played. The term jukebox almost certainly comes from jook, a slang term for dance popular in the earlier part of the twentieth century. Whilst some believe it refers to the juke joints - roadside bars located in the South and frequented by African Americans.
Until 1927 jukeboxes had remained a novelty item but when a company called Automated Musical Instruments Inc (AMI) developed an amplifier, the popularity of the jukebox surged. During the depression record sales slumped, but the growing popularity of the jukebox resurrected the music business. By 1940 there were 400,000 jukeboxes in use in the United States. Three names were made during the 1940s and they remain synonymous with the jukebox industry, Seeburg, Wurlitzer and Rock-Ola. The Wurlitzer became a work of art, with art deco styled cabinets, rotating lights and bubble tubes. The Wurlitzer 1015 became the biggest selling jukebox in history. In 1948 Seeburg introduced its Select-O-Matic model, the first jukebox to include 100 selections. By 1956, jukeboxes with 200 selections were being manufactured.
Though improvements were made to the 45-rpm jukeboxes along the way, the changes were mainly in the appearance of the machines. They remained pretty much the same until the 1980s when the compact disc became standard in jukeboxes, and the old 45-rpm machines very quickly became relics. The new CD machines were capable of housing 100 discs totaling 1000 song selections.
A remake of the Wurlitzer 1015 is still being manufactured in Germany. Rock-Ola machines continue to be produced as well.

Poem - Blankney Post Office

In all the years I have lived in Blankney one of my most favourite people was Mrs Reilly. Edith Reilly kept the village Post Office and shop. She was also a woman I respected and admire, she was honest, hard working, called a spade a spade, and certainly didn't suffer fools gladly. Sadly, by the time I wrote the following poem Mrs Reilly had died. The poem is a dedication to her.

Blankney Post Office

Mrs Reilly how we miss you
Sharp tongue and silver hair
Running Blankney Post Office
From the bottom of your stair
Appearing from the parlour
Summoned by the noise
Of the jingle of the door bell
Set off by girls and boys
Who with great anticipation
Before your cabinet stand
Trying to decide what sweets to buy
Sixpence clutched in hand
Sweet cigarettes, two birds eggs
And a sherbet dip
Were usually too much money
And you would bite your lip
Then their indecision
And too long standing looking
Would hear you say 'I haven't all day
I've left my dinner cooking'
I remember well dark winter nights
The shop felt cold and damp
The old blue book, partitioned off
For each different value stamp
But stamps and postal orders
Were not the only things to sell
Laces, string and stationery
Ailment cures as well
Buttercup syrup and lozengers
And if they were not enough
A tonic called Blakey's Oatmeal
For those feeling really rough
Cards of this and cards of that
Carefully arranged and displayed
On a beam that ran from wall to wall
Above the counter, roughly made
The quarry tiles so walked upon
Scrubbed daily on your knees
Reflected in their cleanliness
Your eagerness to please
The little shop has gone now
Along with many a familiar face
For whom it was not just a shop
It was the village meeting place

Rodney Garlant

Maxine's World


We have a 'best bet' running today, in the hope we can get back into profit. The selection is Paradise Dream in the Blue Square E.b.f Novice Stakes, run at York (4.20). This is a competitive sprint run over 5 furlongs. Paradise Dream has had one run to date, finishing second to Avon River, on the all-weather track at Kempton. That run should have put the selection spot on for today's race and we expect the Jeremy Noseda trained colt to win.

13 May 2009
Paradise Dream
York 4.20

The best of luck with this selection.


Wildlife Pictures No.6

No.6 In our Wildlife Pictures series. Another great
picture from this fabulous series.
(Click on image to enlarge)

Who Am I? - Tuesday's Answer

The answer to yesterdays
Who Am I?
Tommy Steele

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