One day this summer a friend who is a stamp collector phoned to say there was a story about Orwell and the island of Jura, Scotland in the August 2011 edition of the CANADIAN STAMP NEWS magazine and a few days later he brought over his copy for sharing with ORWELL TODAY readers.
Reading the article and looking at the pictures flashed me back in time to when I travelled to the isle of Jura in August 2004. See JOURNEY TO ORWELL'S JURA and VISITING ORWELL'S BARNHILL
The story in the CANADIAN STAMP NEWS is about the stamp and postcard collection of the current Jura postmaster and owner of the Jura General Store in Craighouse.
When I was there we shopped at that store for stamps and goodies before heading out to Orwell's house at Barnhill -- and to buy a bottle of Jura whisky -- but they didn't sell any, saying it's only available at the distillery across the street which, it being the weekend, was closed.
Luckily, later, we found Jura whisky in the duty-free shop at the London airport and bought a bottle before leaving England.
In the lobby of the Jura Hotel I bought postcards showing a picture of the Jura Hotel. Then, on the way back from Orwell's house at Barnhill, I sat on a low stone wall and wrote them out. I popped them into an old red mailbox perched on the side of the road by a red phone booth. I kept one of the postcards for myself (see scans at top of page).
Below is the article from the stamp magazine:
POSTMASTER COLLECTS POSTCARDS FROM ISLAND OF JURA
by Ian Robertson, Canadian Stamp News, August 16, 2011
...There are more than 5,000 red deer on the 368-square-kilometre island, whose name is derived from the Old Norse word "Dyroy", which means appropriately "deer island"... Locals also boast of one of the island's famous former short-term residents, Eric Arthur Blair. A journalist and teacher who wrote under the name George Orwell (1903-50), in 1948 he completed a landmark futuristic government-totalitarianism novel in a then-large abandoned farmhouse called Barnhill, reached along a remote track that ends with a breathtaking seaside view along the Sound of Jura. Published in 1949, the warnings of a grim world in Nineteen Eighty-Four are still cited in occasional media warnings of a Big Brother controlling society...
Just over 15 years ago, Stephen Martin and his wife Bev bought the Jura Stores in the island's main village, across from the largest employer, the Isle of Jura Distillery, a 201-year-old business that produces famous single-malt scotches.... Anyone who drops off mail or pops a letter into the small, bright red cast-iron postbox beside the road next to the store will have it collected by the regular Royal Mail courier, who comes to the island by ferry. From Craighouse and from postboxes that stand beside the road and occasional coves across the island, mail is delivered and collected for sorting and forwarding from Islay....
~ end quoting ~
After reading the article I went to my JOURNEY TO ORWELL'S JURA photo album to look for the Jura postcard I'd put in there (the one I hadn't mailed). Wishing it wasn't blank, it godcidently occurred to me to pretend the postcard came from Orwell on Jura and I imagined what it would say:
'To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free,
when men are different from one another and do not live alone
- to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone:
From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude,
from the age of BIG BROTHER, from the age of doublethink
I super-imposed Orwell's words -- taken from the opening passages of "1984" -- onto the empty postcard (scanned above) -- with an improvised stamp of Orwell's face in the corner. And, come to think of it, I think the Royal Mail should issue a stamp honouring George Orwell -- as they've done for many lesser British icons. Maybe someone will take that up as a cause (as has been done for a statue in Orwell's India birthplace). See ORWELL STATUE IN MOTIHARI.
Symbolically, this IS a postcard from Orwell because it was with me when I was in Orwell's house at Barnhill -- it was in my backpack along with the other ones I later wrote and mailed. Also, on his last night on Jura, Orwell had slept in the Jura Hotel, making this postcard even MORE symbolic.
And those words are what George Orwell wrote as Winston Smith when he dedicated his diary -- symbolic of his book "1984" -- to "we the future".
Before putting away the CANADIAN STAMP NEWS article (which I dug out and scanned today) I flipped through the rest of the magazine and, amazingly, came across another Orwell-related article -- this time about one of Canada's most famous actors (for his role in everyone's favourite show in the 60s, ie Bonanza). It turns out that Lorne Greene was the voice of BIG BROTHER in a 1940s radio adaptation of "1984":
LORNE GREENE VOICE OF BIG BROTHER
IN NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR RADIO ADAPTATION
by Ian Robertson, Canadian Stamp News, August 16, 2011
To people of my generation, he was television's penultimate American Old West father. For 14 years, Lorne Greene was Ben Cartwright, the widowed head of a fictional clan of three sons who called him 'Pa' on their sprawling ranch, surrounded by a forest near Virginia City, Nevada, in the late 1800s. To folks of my parent's generation, he was known as "The Voice of Doom". Greene got that nickname for the deep-voiced, sombre tone used while delivering the latest grim news from the battlefronts of Europe and Japan during the Second World War, when he became Canada's best-known national CBC Radio announcer... In 1939 Greene joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as an announcer. The network promoted him as "The Voice of Canada", not just for the news he read, but for the dramatic tones he brought to the task.
Starting in 1940, Greene narrated several war films... In New York, he met Canadian producer Fletcher Markle, who thought his voice would do well on a live Studio One broadcast adaptation of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, a dark novel about a highly bureaucratic futuristic system where people lived, worked and were watched by "Big Brother", whose minions kept the population under control. Greene got the title role of "Big Brother"....
~ end quoting ~
Before reading that article I'd never heard of that New York radio adaptation of "1984". But now I'm wondering if perhaps it's the NBC production that starred David Niven as Winston Smith. See 1949 DAVID NIVEN AS 1984 WINSTON SMITH
I haven't had a chance to re-listen yet -- but when I do I'll perk my ears to hear if it's Lorne Greene's "voice of doom" playing the role of BIG BROTHER. ~ Jackie Jura
listen 1984 Radio Play Starring David Niven, by NBC University Theatre, OTR.Network Library (originally broadcast on August 27, 1949 at 9 p.m. as a one-hour production)
1.Winston's Diary (...He went into the living room and sat down at a small table that stood to the left of the telescreen. From the table drawer he took out a penholder, a bottle of ink, and a thick, quarto-sized blank book with a red back and a marbled cover.... The thing that he was about to do was open a diary.... Winston fitted a nib into the penholder and sucked it to get the grease off. The pen was an archaic instrument, seldom used even for signatures, and he had procured one, furtively and with some difficulty, simply because of a feeling that the beautiful creamy paper deserved to be written on with a real nib instead of being scratched with an ink-pencil. Actually he was not used to writing by hand. Apart from very short notes, it was usual to dictate everything into the speak-write, which was of course impossible for his present purpose. He dipped the pen into the ink and then faltered for just a second.... For whom, it suddenly occurred to him to wonder, was he writing this diary? For the future, for the unborn? For the first time the magnitude of what he had undertaken came home to him. How could you communicate with the future? It was of its nature impossible. Either the future would resemble the present, in which case it would not listen to him: or it would be different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless.... He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long as he uttered it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage. He went back to the table, dipped his pen, and wrote...
watch 1954 BBC TV Version of 1984 , You Tube
1956 MOVIE OF 1984 GOOD
ANIMAL FARM ORIGINAL MOVIE
ANIMAL FARM 1954 MOVIE GOOD
ANIMAL FARM 1999 MOVIE BAD
1984 BAD "1984" MOVIE
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