2894 Slices
Medium 9781936227068

1. "What the Hell Are You Niggers Doing in Here?"

Davis, Belva Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

• • •

I could feel the hostility rising like steam off a cauldron of vitriol: floor delegates and gallery spectators at the Republican National Convention were erupting in catcalls aimed at the press. South of San Francisco, people were sweltering inside the cavernous Cow Palace, which typically hosted rodeos. In July of 1964 it offered ringside seats for the breech birth of a right-wing revolution.

My radio news director, Louis Freeman, and I lacked credentials for the press box—actually we knew that some whites at this convention would find our mere presence offensive. Although Louis was brilliant and had a deep baritone voice and a journalism degree, his first boss had warned Louis he might never become a radio reporter because Negro lips were “too thick to pronounce polysyllabic words.” But Louis, whose enunciation was flawless, eventually landed an on-the-hour news slot on KDIA-AM, the Bay Area’s premier soul-gospel-jazz station; and he was determined to cover the convention. It was said that the national press was flocking to the GOP confab to “report Armageddon.” Louis wanted to be at the crux of the story, relaying to our black listeners all the news that white reporters might deem insignificant. I was the station’s intrepid ad traffic manager, a thirtyone-year-old divorced mother of two, who had no journalism training. No question Louis would have preferred a more formidable companion: I’m delicately boned and stand merely five foot one in stockings. But I was an eager volunteer. More to the point, I was his only volunteer. And I was, in his words, “a moxie little thing.” He had finagled two spectator passes from one of the black delegates—they made up less than 1 percent of convention participants. So there we were, perched in the shadows under the rafters,scribbling notes and recording speeches, mistakenly presuming we had found the safest spot to be.

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Medium 9781574411782

Chapter 10–Rank

Chuck Gross University of North Texas Press PDF



As the push to Khe Sanh continued, our unit continued flying several types of missions, ranging from resupply and combat assaults to troop insertions and extractions. We flew a lot of reconnaissance work, but sometimes we were stuck flying what I called taxi service. Taxi service normally consisted of ferrying the senior ranking officers from the brigades that we were supporting out to different sites in the field. We would wait while they held their conferences and then fly them back to headquarters—hence the nickname for such boring flying.

Most of the officers we ran this taxi service for were great to work with, but there were always a few ants in the picnic basket. From my own experiences, I soon discovered that if you were working with a full bird colonel, who knew that he did not stand a chance of making general, then you were almost guaranteed that he would be great to fly for.

He was not there to impress his superiors and win medals, he just wanted to do a good job and get his mission accomplished. But if we were flying for someone who stood the slightest chance of making general, look out! He would most likely be a Patton-in-disguise. Several of the lieutenant colonels who were pushing to make full bird colonel carried this same asshole trait in their character.

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Medium 9781847777416


Raphael, Frederic Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF


Brendan Behan. I went with Tom to Blackheath to interview him.

The Mill House is a large white building with a triangle of lawn.

Behan, in unbuttoned shirt and trousers, no shoes, was on the telephone, talking about a lecture that Christina Foyle wanted him to do. ‘What’s wrong with this fuckin’ thing?’ Barrel-chested, curly sandy hair, fat face, sweet mouth, feet and hands small and puffy like a baby’s. ‘Have some whisky. It’s all right, it’s embassy whisky, dutyfree.’ Beatrice, his wife, big-eyed and freckled, brought glasses and poured with a tired hand.

At last, we shuffled off to the pub. ‘We’ll have a couple of drinks and then we’ll do the interview.’ As we left the house, he grabbed my genitals. ‘Come on, boy!’

On the way he pressed half a crown into the neighbour’s baby’s hand as she lay in her pram. ‘If she grips it, that’s good luck. She’s gripped it – see that? – she gripped it. That’s good luck.’

When acquaintances called out ‘good morning’ he responded,

‘Bonjour, bonjour.’

The Railway Hotel was a gloomy pub in the heart of the village.

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6. A Bad Night’s Sleep

Susan Spano Roaring Forties Press ePub



The Swedish word for people who come to the Icehotel, 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle, to spend the night is tokig. It means “crazy.”

The room temperature is 23 degrees. The walls, beds, chairs, light fixtures, even the glasses used in the bar, are made of ice. You can’t unpack your clothes because they’d freeze, and the thought of getting out of your sleeping bag to go down the hall to the toilet is enough to keep you awake all night.

Those inconveniences aside, every winter, thousands of people come to Swedish Lapland to sleep in a hotel of snow and ice. The number of rooms varies from year to year, as does the décor, because in the spring the building melts into the nearby Torne River, to be reconstructed in the fall as the spirit moves the ice artists.

The Icehotel—something of an international concept, having spawned similar frozen hostelries in Japan, Norway, Canada, and Romania—was the brainchild of Swedish entrepreneur Yngve Bergqvist, who wanted to find a way to attract winter visitors to a frigid and remote but singularly beautiful place. It began as a humble igloo housing a 1989 art exhibit, where a handful of intrepid souls spent the night and woke up raving about the experience.

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1. The Legendary Lonnie Johnson—One of the Most Important Musicians of the 20th Century; Musicians and Progress on Civil Rights

Dean Alger University of North Texas Press ePub


The Legendary Lonnie Johnson—One of the Most Important Musicians of the 20th Century


Although he’s not well known today, Lonnie Johnson was one of the century’s most important musicians. His story is of major musical and cultural significance; and it’s a fascinating and inspiring tale in its personal elements.

When you mention guitar, the first thing I think of is Lonnie Johnson.”

—B. B. King.1

In The Guitar Players, James Sallis put Johnson in proper company: “Lonnie Johnson probably should be as well known as Bessie Smith or Louis Armstrong; his artistry is at that level. . . . His touch, the expressiveness he achieved on the instrument, was a revelation in his time and still affords a rich and rare harvest to guitarists.”2

Former Rolling Stones bass player Bill Wyman (a serious student of blues history), in his well-presented book Bill Wyman’s Blues Odyssey, pointed out Lonnie’s pioneering significance: “He was a guitar legend before we knew what they were. You can trace his playing style in a direct line through T-Bone Walker and B. B. King to Eric Clapton.”3 The legendary Lonnie J was the Original Guitar Hero.4

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