Review 2023/24 Season

Our First talk of the season was very well attended.

Wild About Oscar
We had a Wilde Night at The Arts Society

Wednesday 16th May was our penalmente talk, the subject being Oscar Wilde given by  Simon Whitehouse , in his words a recovering thespian and now a blue badge holder for tours in London featuring The Oscar Wild tour, he gave us a most entertaining talk of the life and times of Oscar Wilde. 

The evening began with drinks in the Library gardens, how wonderful to enjoy the beautiful gardens now the good weather is with us. 

Joining us for his final evening as our patron was His Excellency the Governor of Gibraltar, Sir David Steel. We said a sad farewell to our most supportive patron, His Excellency Sir David Steel, quietly attends our lectures whenever he can, not wanting any recognition or special treatment, just another member! we wish him all the best for his retirement and hope he finds an Art Society near him in Hampshire. 

Everyone experienced a most interesting and informative evening. 

It was noted by our speaker Simon said we were the most warm and welcoming society he had visited , we are a very nice bunch !

The Art of the Automobile

Roger gave a fascinating talk on the Art of the Automobile with some amazing pictures of these beautiful cars. He started by explaining how the art deco movement had an impact on car design. These designs were even incorporated into the iconic Chrysler Building in New York. Walter P Chrysler, who commissioned the building, had stainless steel automobile icons (e.g., radiator caps in the form of Mercury) included in the frieze.

We also learnt why we have a boot but the Americans have a trunk. The early cars with their sleek curves and chrome details only had a small open space at the back where a small travel trunk could be placed.

Roger then went on to tell us how collectible these early cars have become with record prices being achieved at auction. However the most desirable and expensive must be the The Black Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic. Only four of these cars were ever made and only three are accounted for today. The fourth disappeared after the Germany invasion of Frances in WW2 and no trace of it has ever been found. The last time one was sold it went for a reported staggering $40 million. 

So if you happen to know of an old outbuilding or garage that hasn’t been opened up in years, you never know you might just be lucky and find the fourth elusive car.

Untouchable Art: The Rise of the NFT and Speculation in the Art Market

Viv explained to us what a NGT was and how you went about obtaining one. I waited patiently for the light bulb to click on, unfortunately for me it didn’t! I hope that it wasn’t the same for everyone However I wasn’t convinced that spending a vast amount of money on something I couldn’t look at and enjoy was the best way to spend my money

The Story Behind the Song

Our First Lecture of 2024 was a huge success

Steve King having spent 35 years as a broadcaster working in the radio Industry and managing some of the biggest radio brands in the UK , has been studying the story behind the song.

He fascinated us all with  incredible film  clips and music from the Drifters in the early sixties with” Save your Last Dance for Me, “the Beatles, Long John Baldry and Elton John, Abba, Police but to name but a few of famous song writers through the 60’s 70’s and 80’s finalizing with which he says is the best female vocal of all time”, I will Always Love You “sung by Whitney Houston, but that song was not written for film The Bodyguard, but years before by Dolly Parton, and her reason for writing it had nothing to do with a love affair! We had 50 members and guests, an extremely good audience for a wet January evening! 

We all enjoyed Steve’s talk so much we have asked him to return to give another talk on other songs and the words behind the

The Maya

Wednesday 20th December was our last lecture for 2023. 50 members and guests enjoyed a greeting of mulled wine and mince pies, much appreciated on a dull rainy evening.

Duncan Pring gave us an excellent talk on the Maya civilisation which peaked in 1000.00 Bc . They were such an organised and advanced civilisation. Speculation was discussed on how did the whole civilisation which included Mexico , Guatemala and Belize disappear. It could have been overpopulation, starvation because of drought and lack of food or the influence of disease introduced by the Spanish invasion. There exists today wonderful samples of their pottery and buildings showing how sophisticated they were . Thank you Duncan for a fascinating talk and to Ibex for their sponsorship.
The committee wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year. 
Next lecture 17th January, The Story behind The Song 

The Scoliotic Knight – Reconstructing the Real Richard III

Tobias Capwell gave us a fascinating insight into the real Richard 111.

His talk started with him explaining how he became fascinated by medieval knights after his grandmother had taken him to see an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum that featured a tableau of Knights on horseback.

He then went on to tell us how Richard would have learnt to fight from a young age, probably as young as six. The scolioses that caused the spinal deformity that has defined his image would not have become apparent till his late teens.

Several misconceptions about medieval knights and their armour and horses were revealed. The armour would not have been as heavy as is commonly thought, nor were the horses the size of shire horses. Manoeuvrability was essential in fighting and jousting. The horses were typically from Andalucia.

Whilst Tobias was doing research into the armour that Richard would have worn, he was contacted by a young man who has an almost identical spinal deformity to Richard 111. This has enabled Tobias’ team to replicate the armour that Richard wore.

The sense of wonder Tobias felt when he saw that tableau in the Met has never dimmed and today Tobias has two jousting horses of spanish descent and he competes in jousting tournaments around the world.

A Bit of a Carry On

Our first official talk of the season sponsored by Culture was a huge success although only 45 people attended those who missed this talk missed a real treat 

A Bit of a Carry On by Tyler Butterworth who himself has had a most interesting life.

To begin with he reminded us of his famous parents , the amusing characters that Peter Butterworth used to play in the Carry on series and his wife Janet Brown a marvelous impressionist .

Tyler related the side of his parents that few people have been privileged to know.

His father born in Bramhill Cheshire he  joined the Merchant Navy on leaving school , when World War 2 began he joined the Royal Navy and served as a lieutenant in the Fleet Air Arm . He was shot down and made a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft 111, he met Talbot Rothwell who later went on to write many of the Carry On films in which Peter became a star .

Having never performed in public before Peter formed a duo with Rothwell and sang in camp shows. They delivered a song that was followed by some comic repartee, which according to Tyler provoked enough boos and stamping of feet to have the desired effect of drowning out the sounds of an escape tunnel being dug by other prisoners 

Butterworth was one of the vaulters covering for the escapers during the escape portrayed by the book and film The Wooden Horse, Peter later auditioned for the film in 1949 but “didn’t look convincingly heroic or athletic enough” according to the makers of the film! 

Tyler had a wonderful collection of letters and photos he had found in the attic after his fathers death, of the period of time his father had spent in incarceration.

Peter was introduced to actress and impressionist Janet Brown by Rothwell and they married in 1946. They had a son Tyler and daughter Emma.

The couple had a successful career until Peter died in 1979 from a heart attack.

Janet continued her career as an impressionist , becoming famous for her impression of Maggie Thatcher.

Tyler an actor and script writer himself, had us amazed and amused as his hour flew by.

After a very jolly dinner afterwards , we all discussed that fact that there is no longer any really funny  comedy anymore . We put this down to being too politically correct and not being able to poke fun at any one anymore! Sad !

Few photos were allowed due to BBC copyright

Ian Fleming

We started off our season early this year with an excellent talk by Jeremy Black on Ian Fleming and the changing image of the James Bond character through the last 50 years. Grateful thanks to Church & Co for sponsoring this talk .

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