23 June 2012

10 June 1942: keep the aspidistra flying

10 Wed. Mild, very heavy clouds, chilly wind. To shops in morning also to Merton to buy cats' meat. Divided up the big aspidistra and potted up to make two fine plants and gave some to people next door. Aunt Liza called. Wrote letter to Harold Marshall.

1. Fred wouldn't have known this but, to quote Wikipedia: 'Aspidistra was a British medium wave radio transmitter used for black propaganda and military deception purposes against Nazi Germany during World War II. At one time, it was the most powerful broadcast transmitter in the world. Its name - after the popular foliage houseplant - was inspired by the comic song The Biggest Aspidistra in the World, best known as sung by Gracie Fields. The transmitter was built in 1942 near Crowborough in South-East England.' 
2. My own title for this entry, 'Keep the Aspidistra Flying', was the title of a book by George Orwell, published in 1936, a socially critical novel  set in 1930s London. The main theme is Gordon Comstock's romantic ambition to defy worship of the money-god and status, and the dismal life that results.

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