James’ Brand New Blog

Where was I on May 15? A cryptic diary offers clues*

- May 15th, 2012

pete des & me

Pete Townshend, Des McAnuff & Steve Gouveia** on that famous May night at Ottawa, courtesy of myspace.com/stevegouveiamusic. There are some great PIX of Des & Pete rawkin on stage but JBNBlog can’t figure out how to land them properly. Congrats to all three — classy company all round.

Out at Noon.

Got “My Generation”

– May 15, 1967

Baseball/We Won 15-3.

Bought Unsinkable C. Brown & Stones autobiography

Taught Exupery in English.

– May 15, 1968

Bought Scarf & Books for Susan.

Goat Band Practice.

“King of the Khyber Rifles”

– May 15, 1970

The gifts were for my sister . . . JBNBlog hopes they were more appropriate than the Freak Out! Mothers of Invention album I gave her a few years earlier. She returned it with as much good grace as possible. The scarf & whatever books must have been a better birthday gift. Must have. Happy birthday 2012, eh?

My Generation arrived  via Grade 11 band- & classmate Art Tracy . . . just saw Art again at the Orchestra London Pops! concert. A great album — James Brown covers, that impossible bass solo on the title track, The Kids are Alright’s “I don’t mind other guys dancing with my girl . . .” — a line that lingers 45 years on. Passively possessive? Genuinely egalitarian? Need to keep my brothers happy? Indifference to the female? Ah, Pete Townshend who knew you would be jammin’ with Des McAnuff (!) at a big Canadian arts event in May 2012?

The Stones bio was an early one . . . v. sanitized . . . oh those scamps, putting salt instead of sugar in the coffee of whoever was last to join, etc. . . . did contain if memory serves amused observation on Dean Martin being “drunk as a lord” while he mocked the Stones who were guests on his TV show & Bill Wyman observing it was about time to stop touring because jumping around on-stage at the advanced age of, oh, 26 was pretty undignified.

King of the Khyber Rifles was probably a movie on TV . . . or possibly the Classics Illustrated comic. All invasions of Afghanistan seem doomed . . . but it was London’s V.P. Cronyn who flew up the Khyber Pass c. 1916, a moment in aviation and First World War history.

*An occasional series based on a v. cryptic diary kept as a pen&ink forerunner to JBNBlog during the late 1960s, when our family lived in London, Stratford (parts of summers of 1966 & 1967), Victoria, B.C. (July 4, 1968-July 4, 1969) and then London again until June, 1970 when I was in Grade 13.

** Who is Steve Gouveia? JBNBlog should have known . . . here are the full details w/ the San Diego & Jersey Boys connections likely explaining the link to Des McAnuff.

Steve Gouveia is a musician/actor/songwriter, born and raised in San Diego. He is a member of the original 2006 Tony award- winning, Grammy-winning, and Platinum-selling Broadway cast of the hit show Jersey Boys, and recently completed a four-year run as Nick Massi in the show’s First National Tour.

As a musician, he has worked with John Wesley of Porcupine Tree, Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors, Chris Thompson of Manfred Mann, Brian VanderArk of The Verve Pipe, Andy Qunta of Icehouse, A Cast of Thousands, The Red Dirt Band, Danielle LoPresti and the Masses, Michael Cerveris, Micky Dolenz, John Goodman, Sam Harris, Lorna Luft, Debbie Gibson, The Tokens, The CBS Orchestra and others.
Steve has performed for The Today Show, Late Night With David Letterman, The 2006 Tony Awards, The New York City Marathon (singing, not running–much easier), and The Christopher Reeve Foundation.

Categories: Entertainment

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3 comments

  1. A dirty job but somebody has to do it says:

    LOOKUP Detour to Wikii -
    King of the Khyber Rifles starts life as a novel by British writer Talbot Mundy. ‘ Khyber Rifles’ was /is real regiment.
    Originally serialised in ‘Everybody’s Magazine’ in nine parts from May 1916 illustrated by Joseph Clement Coll.
    It was published in book form in November 1916..
    {More re the Hollywood movies and comic book appearances..]
    Perhap Cronyn was inspired by this adventure story – do the dates match ?

  2. james.reaney says:

    Here’s a little of Verse’s flight into the Khyber pass & other war action. The 1916 flight produced the first aerial photographs of the pass apparently . . . so he was there just about the same time as the novel!

    Here is what I wrote in 2001:

    Verschoyle P. (Verse) Cronyn, then barely 22, was a member of the prominent Cronyn family, which included church and business leaders. On Sept. 23, 1917, he was on an evening patrol with his Royal Flying Corps (RFC) squadron, more than 2,000 metres in the air and perhaps 10 kilometres behind German lines.
    It was to prove a remarkable day in a remarkable life. The late Verschoyle Cronyn would go on to become a leading London business executive after the First World War. He never lost his affection for aviation and was to serve in the RCAF, in other capacities, during the Second World War.
    After going overseas with the RFC, he was posted to the border of Afghanistan, where there were tribal skirmishes with British-ruled India.
    On his 21st birthday (Sept. 20, 1916), he flew through the Khyber Pass. The first aerial photos of the Pass — “33 miles of twisting, rocky (path)” in his own words — were taken during that flight 85 years ago.
    The next year, Cronyn was in France. He shot down eight enemy aircraft, becoming a Canadian RFC ace. The stage was set for what would be his final day of combat.
    Sunday, Sept. 23, was “no day of peace,” Cronyn writes. More than 40 minutes into that patrol, a dogfight developed as Cronyn’s squadron engaged Germans.
    Shrapnel had already ripped fabric from Cronyn’s plane, but he soon encountered a deadlier foe at closer range. He fired on a German triplane, the first he’d seen. The German fired back. “The bullets were ripping all around me,” Cronyn writes. ” (I) dove just enough to give me speed to turn in under him to prevent his getting on my tail.”
    It was soon apparent the German was an exceptional pilot. He was, in fact, Werner Voss, the legendary German teenage ace.
    The London ace and Voss continued their duel, even as Cronyn battled engine problems and had to turn away. Voss kept firing. Other RFC pilots joined the fray. Voss fought several of them at once.
    The Londoner’s plane had 49 holes in it that day, but he was fine. Cronyn landed safely and learned from his leader that Voss’s plane had been shot down by his RFC mates.
    The remarkable story of that Sept. 23 (1917) lives on in Cronyn’s autobiography, Other Days, available in the central library’s London Room. It is also in William Corfield’s Wings Over London: Our Aviation Heritage, a book dedicated to Cronyn.

  3. A dirty job but somebody has to do it says:

    Novel reachs serialization stage in US “Everybody’s” starting 1916 May
    Lt. Cronyn makes his flight in India 1916 Sept. 20, lots of time to be
    receiving the magazine from home back in Canada..
    So it is possible he was inspired by the magazine story,
    So far no luck finding online illustrations of how artist J C Coll saw it
    - Those were the days, great fiction at your doorstep in advance of
    book sales.

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