Victoria
Victoria
By: jbhthescots@mac.com, Categories: Words & Images, 2 comments

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I was recently listening to the wonderfully nostalgic trip down memory lane with the three-part BBC Radio 6 Music documentary ‘The Davies Diaries’ on the iPlayer, as the legendary rock raconteur and Kinks’ frontman, Ray Davies, takes a personal look back at music and events from his life during the period 1964-69. 

 

He tells how they needed a new hit single every three months and he was the one who supplied them: You Really Got Me, All Day And All Of The Night, Tired Of Waiting For You, Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy, Set Me Free, See My Friends, Till The End Of The Day, Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, Sunny Afternoon, Dandy, Dead End Street, Waterloo Sunset, Autumn Almanac, and Days.

 

That’s fourteen smash hits in four years, and arguably the greatest hot streak in the history of pop. Even more amazing when you consider they were all written and sung by one person. That’s what you call pressure. And Davies recalls the pressure of having to write another song for an album to a strict deadline just after that golden period, with the added burden being heaped on him from his then wife to name their new-born daughter – so Davies being Davies, he opted to kill two birds with the one stone by naming her Victoria.

 

And ‘Victoria’ kicks off the Kinks’ seventh album in 1969, Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire); a concept album about 20th-century England.  ‘Victoria’ pays sarcastic tribute to the good ol’ days of prudish Queen Victoria and her once-powerful empire, which was built on the backs of the poor – or, as pop storyteller par excellence Ray Davies lyrically puts it, ‘Long ago life was clean / Sex was bad and obscene / And the rich were so mean’.

 

Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary was erected to commemorate Victoria’s Golden Jubilee of 1897.  Albert Hemstock Hodge was employed to create the carved decoration on the infirmary’s façade and, in 1914, also was commissioned to further produced the bronze, imperialistic statue of Victoria that sits somewhat prudishly – as was her wont – atop the entrance to the Jubilee Block that was built to commemorate her long 63-year reign.

 

Leica M6 Classic & 2.8/90mm Elmarit

Ilford FP4+ (@200)

HC-110 (Dil. H – 12:30 min)

Plustek 7600i & Vuescan

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