23 February 2013

"The bird is the word"

If you were in North America in 1963, you might recognise "The bird is the word" from the song "Surfin' Bird" by The Trashmen (strange how these snippets pop into your head). The song, heard at a gig and riffed the next night, has an interesting history involving a plagiarism suit. It reached No.4 in the US but took 49 years to reach the UK - in an anti-X Factor campaign. Life is strange...

If you were in Canada in 1983, you might have come across this new book (the rug on the cover was made by Doukhobors) -
The photo is of a library copy, from which the following objects come.
"Birds and Flowers" by Anna Weber (1814-1888), a Mennonite woman who in later years turned her energies to making watercolours (in the Fraktur tradition) for friends
Stoneware crock, c1859-1867, Brantford, Ontario.  Stoneware manufacturing began in Brantford in 1849 ; the entrepreneur, Franklin Goold, was originally from New Hampshire
This caged bird has a touching story - it was made about 1920 in Quebec for a child with Down's syndrome by her mother.  It remained a source of simple pleasure for the rest of her life. The bird is barely 3cm long.

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