This past Christmas, 2016, Canada's national radio station -- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation -- aired a special tribute to George Orwell. It was a great way to end the year and start New Year 2017 on this the 114th year of Orwell's birth and the 67th year of his death. Below I've transcribed the write-up and linked to the radio program for ORWELL TODAY readers to listen.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

The Orwell Tapes
produced by Steve Wadhams
hosted on IDEAS with Paul Kennedy, CBC, December 2016

He was a brilliant, eccentric, complicated man; a colonial policeman, a critic and journalist, a dishwasher, a fighter in the Spanish civil war, a teacher and a shopkeeper -- and one of the most influential writers of our time. His name was Eric Blair, better known as George Orwell. Who was the man who gave us 'big brother', 'thoughtcrime', 'doublethink', whose name looms so large in this era of mass surveillance? Steve Wadhams delves into recordings he made with the people who knew Orwell from his earliest days to his final moments.

CBC is the only media organization with a comprehensive archive of recordings of people who knew George Orwell from his earliest days to his final moments. There are fifty hours of recordings. Some of this oral history was included in "George Orwell, A Radio Biography" which aired on CBC radio on January 1, 1984 -- the first day of Orwell's famous year. But much of it is being aired now for the first time.

listen Part 1, TO BURMA AND BACK, It's the story of how a child born Eric Blair became a man called George Orwell. It's a journey from privilege to poverty -- and it ends with a rising young writer finding the love he feared would always elude him.

listen Part 2, TO WRITE AND TO FIGHT, We follow Orwell as he sets out to investigate poverty in the depressed industrial towns of the north of England. He returns to marry the love of his life and then risks it all by going off to fight in the Spanish civil war. Spain gave Orwell a belief in Socialism and a hatred of Communism. What he saw in Spain would inspire him to write his most famous books, Animal Farm and 1984.

listen Part 3, LOYAL REBEL & PATRIOTIC REVOLUTIONARY, Begins in 1939 with the outbreak of World War II. Orwell dreamed of a Socialist post-war Britain. Orwell was rejected for military service because of poor health -- but eventually he found war related work as a producer at the BBC -- chafing under heavy wartime censorship but learning from it -- in fact using it to write his two most famous books; Animal Farm and 1984. The effort of writing 1984 broke Orwell's fragile health and he died of tuberculosis at the age of 46.

Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed -- no escape.
"Big brother is watching you"

"Big brother is watching you" might be Orwell's most famous line from his most famous book -- 1984. But there are so many more:

Lines about language: "It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words"

Lines about truth: "In time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act"

Lines about freedom: "If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they don't want to hear"

1984, ANIMAL FARM, DOWN AND OUT IN PARIS AND LONDON, THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER and HOMAGE TO CATALONIA -- Orwell's account of the Spanish Civil war -- that's an impressive list of books. It gets more impressive when you add his important essays, like POLITICS AND THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE:

"Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously and accepting both of them"

One of the last things he wrote was a short entry in a notebook: "At fifty everyone has the face they deserve"

But Orwell didn't make it to fifty. He died from tuberculosis in a hospital bed. He was 46 years old.

For two years, during the second World War, Orwell was a producer at the BBC in London. But there are no known recordings of his voice. We know him through his writing and -- as you'll hear -- through the testimony of friends, critics and family members.

Orwell was a very private man - skilled at keeping the people in his life in different compartments. Each had only part of the bigger picture. To get that you have to piece together the memories and insights of many people. And in 1983, as Orwell's fateful year approached, it was still possible to do that. That summer CBC producer Steve Wadhams spent a couple of months travelling through England, Scotland and Spain -- recording interviews with the people you'll hear in this series.

People interviewed in Part 1:

     - Jacintha Buddicom, childhood friend of Orwell (she knew him only by his real name Eric Blair)
     - Dennis Collings, friend of Orwell in Southwold
     - Jack Denny, Orwell's tailor in Southwold
     - Christopher Eastwood, went to Eton with Orwell
     - Kay Ekevall, one of Orwell's girlfriends
     - Adrian Fierz, son of Mabel Fierz
     - Mabel Fierz, helped Orwell get his first book publishe
     - Joan Mullock and Nancy Fox, knew Orwell in Southwold
     - John Grotrian, was at Orwell's first school – St. Cyprian's
     - Jon Kimche, worked with Orwell in London bookshop
     - Jane Morgan, Orwell's niece
     - Roger Mynors, knew Orwell at Eton
     - Steven Runciman, knew Orwell at Eton
     - Brenda Salkeld, teacher in Southwold. Friend of Orwell
     - Stephen Spender, became friend despite Orwell calling him a "parlour bolshevik and pansy poet"
     - Geoffrey Stevens, Orwell was his teacher at a small private school
     - Julian Symons, friend

People interviewed in Part 2:

     - Victor Alba, took Orwell around Barcelona in 1937
     - Fred Bates and Olga Bates, villagers in Wallington where Orwell had a cottage
     - Fenner Brockway, helped Orwell get to Spain
     - Esther Brookes, lived in Wallington cottage after Orwell left
     - Stafford Cottman, fought with Orwell in Spanish civil war
     - Patricia Donahue, friend
     - Bob Edwards, fought with Orwell in Spanish civil war
     - Kay Ekevall, one of Orwell's girlfriends
     - Mabel Fierz, helped Orwell get his first book published
     - Frank Frankford, fought with Orwell in Spanish civil war
     - Livia Gollancz, daughter of Orwell's first publisher
     - Lydia Jackson, friend of Eileen, Orwell's first wife
     - Jon Kimche, visited Orwell in Barcelona
     - William Krehm, Canadian journalist who met Orwell in Spain
     - Sam Lesser, Communist party member – highly critical of Orwell
     - Carlton Melling, helped Orwell research poverty in Wigan public Library
     - Sydney Smith, showed Orwell around Wigan
     - Victor Stacey, was in room next to Orwell at Tuberculosis Sanatorium
     - Julian Symons, friend

People interviewed in Part 3:

     - David Astor, friend who helped Orwell find house in Jura and arranged his funeral
     - Richard Blair, Orwell's adopted son
     - Jacintha Buddicom, childhood friend of Orwell
     - Lettice Cooper, friend of Eileen (Orwell's first wife)
     - Katie Darroch, Orwell's nearest neighbour on Isle of Jura
     - Patricia Donahue, friend
     - Bill Dunn, Orwell's brother-in-law
     - Rev. Gordon Dunstan, Church minister for Orwell's funeral
     - Mary Fyvel, friend of Orwell
     - Tosco Fyvel, worked with Orwell on wartime books
     - Celia Goodman, Orwell proposed to her after his first wife died
     - Desmond Hawkins, worked with Orwell at the BBC
     - David Holbrook, boyfriend of Orwell's housekeeper after his first wife died
     - Michael Meyer, friend of Orwell
     - Malcolm Muggeridge, friend
     - Margaret Nelson, owner of house on Island of Jura that Orwell rented
     - Anne Popham, Orwell proposed to her after his first wife died
     - Paul Potts, Canadian born poet. Knew Orwell in London
     - Stephen Spender, friend
     - Henry Swanzy, knew Orwell at the BBC
     - Julian Symons, friend. Reviewed 1984
     - Susan Watson, Orwell's housekeeper after his first wife died
     - James Williamson, doctor who treated Orwell
     - Sunday Wilshin, knew Orwell at the BBC
     - Diana Witherby, friend of Orwell's second wife, Sonia Brownell

ShererPoloPlayers OrwellIndiaUniform BurmeseDays
(Indian horse hockey transformed into polo)
HouseBirth BabyOrwell/Nanny HouseBedroom
(grandfather Bovill delivered babies there)
Email, Jan 23, 2017

1984PlacardInstruction 1984PlacardInstruction2
(Orwell wrote 1984 to warn we the people)
Jan 22, 2017

George Orwell died 67 years ago
OrwellHospitalDied OrwellGraveRose
January 21, 1950-2017

(people who knew Orwell from birth to death)
CBC, Jan 21, 2017

Cockroaches are the dominant species...
(all it took was a few seasons of Kardashians)
January 2017
Prolefeed & Big Brother Brotherhood & Rulers

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
website: www.orwelltoday.com