BIGGEST ASPIDISTRA IN ORWELL WORLD
The black propaganda radio transmitter
was given the code name "Aspidistra",
after the popular song by Gracie Fields,
because it was, at the time,
the most powerful broadcast transmitter in the world.
To Orwell Today,
When ORWELL was writing his book "Keep the Aspidistra Flying" with its recurring theme of the aspidistra plant in all English homes at this period in history he was most likely greatly influenced by the most popular hit song of the time entitled "The Biggest Aspidistra in the World". This was just one hit sung by Gracie Fields. Gracie had big hits throughout 1930s/1940s. She was a unique entertainer, singer, comediene, actress, most famous person in England next to the Royals. She was remarkable in that she was a "working class" Lancashire lass ex mill worker who kept her accent and identity. She was loved by the nation.
Yes, I've heard Gracie Fields singing "The Biggest Aspidistra in the World" as recently as a couple of weeks ago when I was driving in my car and they played it over the radio in relation to V-E Day celebrations in England. I thought of Orwell at the time, suspecting as I do, that it partially influenced him in "Keep the Aspidistra Flying".
Lyrics to "The Biggest Aspidistra in the World"
listen THE BIGGEST ASPIDISTSRA IN THE WORLD, YouTube
I read scientific facts on it somewhere, explaining how tough the aspidistra is, which helps a person understand Gordon's challenge in killing it: See ORWELL & TRESSELL ASPIDISTRAS
All the best,
PS - The following are Orwellian 16.Ministry of Truth and Senate House (wartime Ministry of Information) facts about the song:
UK WWII PROPAGANDA RADIO TRANSMITTER NAMED AFTER ASPIDISTRA SONG
If you ever listen to radio these days, you've probably heard "50,000 watts Clear Channel". Today, as in the 1940s, it is still the maximum power allowed a US radio station. But in 1941, the RCA Corporation in New Jersey* built for WJZ a transmitter 10 times more powerful. When the Federal Communication Commission refused to lift its ceiling of 50,000 watts, the WJZ 500,000 watt transmitter was briefly orphaned. Until the British heard about it. The transmitter was crated up, shipped to the UK and installed in bombproof headquarters in Sussex. They named it after a song sung by the English music hall entertainer, Gracie Fields: The Biggest Aspidistra in the World! On the 8th November 1942, this radio transmitter briefly took part in the invasion of North Africa – but then it became largely the property of the BBC and white propaganda....By October, 1943, UK had a transmitter and a new station ready for prime time. Its purpose was to broadcast propaganda to Europe, the majority of which was under German occupation. Above all, Aspidistra allowed Delmer to broadcast loud and clear to ordinary radio sets all over Germany and German occupied Europe, including to Goebbels' People's Radios...With the beginning of the collapse in 1944 and 45, the Allies faced the problem of how to avoid an endless series of Nazi redoubts. In '40 and '41, they had seen the fanatical determination on the faces of the cheering German crowds. The power of the Aspidistra, now boosted from 500,000 watts to 600,000 watts, was used for a somewhat different purpose in 1945, you might say tactically, for a series of Intrusion Operations. This was black radio in the extreme, where it literally took over Nazi broadcasts on the same frequency...
"The Biggest Aspidistra in the World" (the most powerful broadcast transmitter in the world named "Aspidistra" after song by Gracie Fields), by Michael R Burden
*America's city of fear (unrelenting devastation). National Post, May 21, 2005
America's most dangerous city, Camden, New Jersey, home to 79,000 people, was once a prosperous industrial centre but is now officially the national capital of violent crime...During the mid-20th century, Camden was home to a bustling shipyard, the Campbell Soup Company and RCA Victor [where the Aspidistra transmitter was built], which manufactured the first colour television sets in the United States...
Aspidistra, King's Standing, East Sussex (This site was originally home to a high-power (600 kW) medium wave broadcasting transmitter, built for the Political Warfare Executive in WWII. This transmitter was purchased in the USA in 1941 and consisted of three 170-kW units connected in parallel. The underground site had been prepared with the assistance of Canadian forces personnel. The BBC obtained partial use of the station from 8th November 1942 to broadcast its European Service. At other times this transmitter, known colloquially as Aspidistra, was used by the PWE for `black' broadcasting. This started on 30th January 1943
BLACK PROPAGANDA - THE WORLD WAR 2 TOP SECRET BRITISH PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE OPERATION
... Aspidistra could hop all over the wave band and switch frequencies in a fraction of a second. Delmer wanted to lie in ambush for a German station to go off the air, take it over and broadcast ceasefire...They took over the German network and made bogus announcements identical in rhythm and intonation of the genuine Station. By the time Goebbels woke up it was too late. It was such a pushover for the Black Propaganda team that Goebbels abandoned the battle.
ORWELL & TRESSELL ASPIDISTRAS
SONGS & POEMS
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~