On This Day, September 8

Posted on 8th Sep 2012 by ian under On This Day | No Comments »

Saturday!!!  On this day in 1504, Michelangelo’s statue of David was unveiled in Florence.  And who said size doesn’t matter – it is 5.17m tall!!!

To those born on this day…

Here’s an unlikely coincidence – two thirds of The Goons – Harry Secombe, in 1921 and Peter Sellers in 1925.  Imagine having Spike Milligan to sing Happy Birthday to You!

“Sir Cumference”, as Secombe referred to himself on receipt of his knighthood lived to his 80th year, Sellers to his 55th, dying from a heart attack.  Another coincidence, Sellers’ son, Michael, also died from a heart attack, on the same sate as his father, 26 years later.

I loved Sellers in everything I have seen him in – a comic genius that could find a joke in anything.  An example, when scriptwriters would like the actor to pause for a beat, they type three dots and, in one of the Pink Panther films the bumbling Inspector Clouseau actually says it, sotto voce… “I see, dot, dot, dot, it must be…”

In 1946, Australian singer, Ronnie Burns, was born.  One of his biggest hits was written about fellow singer, Normie Rowe, who went to fight in Vietnam… “Smiley, you’re off to the Asian War…”

And in 1979, American singer, a non-Panther Pink was born Alecia Beth Moore.  With over 40million albums and 70million singles sold worldwide, they don’t come much more successful – bet she knows how to throw a birthday party…

A few Aussies who died on this day… racing car driver and motor ‘legend’, Peter Brock, in a car accident in 2006… Crusty actor, Ray Barrett in 2009 and, in 2005, journalist, lecturer, social critic and mentor, Donald Horne.

I say ‘mentor’ because he lectured in political Science when I was at the University of New South Wales – I loved his lectures but what I loved more were his musings on life and society.  You see, we lived on the same bus route and often we would find ourselves sharing the journey and he was happy to share a conversation with no hint of patronisation.  He was a damn fine writer (The Lucky Country and The Education of Young Donald), an astonishing intellectual, a keen observer and a lovely, lovely man.

In his famous 1964 book, Donald Horne said, “Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck.” Discuss.