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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Designed for British Motor Corporation by Sir Alec Issigonis, the Mini was developed in response to a fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis.
Minis were produced by the BMC and its successors from 1959 until 2000. An icon of the 1960s, its revolutionary design influenced a generation of car-makers, and was voted the second only to the Ford Model T. as most influential car of the 20th Century.

The Mini Cooper S went into production in 1961 when Sir Alec’s friend John Cooper, owner of the Cooper Car Company and designer and builder of Formula One and rally cars, saw the potential of the Mini for competition.
The Mini Cooper S earned acclaim with Monte Carlo Rally victories in 1964, 1965 and 1967
Rally great Paddy Hopkirk (1933-) is particularly associated with the golden era of the Cooper. Alongside Henry Liddon he won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally in a Mini Cooper S , the most recent incidence of an all-British crew winning the event.
Hopkirk also enjoyed some success in Australia.He drove for the BMC Works Team in the annual Bathurst 500 race for standard production cars. He drove at Bathurst in a Morris Cooper S from 1965-1967, obtaining a best result of 6th outright and 3rd in class in the 1965 Armstrong 500.

The Mini’s iconic status owes much to Peter Collinson’s classic movie The Italian Job (1969), in which 3 Mini Cooper Ss provide the escape route for the gold, able to navigating the gridlocked Turin traffic in spectacularly unconventional ways. It could have been a very different story, however, as despite the publicity the film would undoubtedly give to the Mini, the BMC, were reluctant to commit to the project, providing only a token fleet of Minis. The production company had to buy the remaining number needed for filming. Italian manufacturer Fiat, however recognized the commercial potential of the film and offered the production team as many super-charged Fiat cars as they needed, along with several sports cars and a cash lump sum of $50,000. The producers turned down the offer because it would have meant replacing the Minis with Fiats, and the rest, as they say…

Now this is seriously cool!
Released on the Verve label in 1962, Jazz Samba was the first major bossa-nova album on the American jazz scene. It is possibly the biggest selling jazz LP ever.
Recorded at All Souls Unitarian Church, Washington, DC on 13 February 1962:
Bass-Keter Betts, Gene (Joe) Byrd
Drums- Buddy Deppenschmidt, Bill Reichenbach
Tenor sax-Stan Getz
Guitar- Charlie Byrd
Featured composers: Antonio Carlos Jobim, Newton Mendonça, Charlie Byrd Jayme Silva, Neuza Teixeira,Baden Powell, Billy Blanco, Ary Barroso.

The track Desafinado won Getz the Grammy for Best Jazz Performance of 1963, and the 7” 45 rpm issue is here also.


During the ‘Cold War’ era the interest in footballers from ‘behind the Iron Curtain’ was limited. Yashin of The Soviet Union was internationally renowned, the Hungarians of the early 1950’s ( some of whom , notably Puskas, fled the uprising and moved to the west) were admired.
Following impressive displays against Benfica in the 1966 European Cup, Georgi Asparuhov (1943 – 1971) of Bulgaria actually attracted attempts from ‘western’ clubs (Benfica included) to sign him. It is understood that these overtures were scotched by the Bulgarian Government.
Known as Gundi, Asparuhov played for Levski Sofia from 1960 to 1961 and 1964 to 1971, and for Botev Plovdiv from 1961 to 1963. He played 245 matches and scored 150 goals in the Bulgarian first division. He represented Bulgaria 50 times (and at 3 World Cup Finals) scoring 19 goals. He was awarded The Order of Labour.
Asparuhov was killed in a car crash in June 1971, and his funeral brought crowds estimated at 500,000 to the streets of Sofia. The Levski stadium is now named in his honour.
For a study in finishing see the goal that he scored against England at Wembley in 1968- it’s on You Tube.

Keep up to date with the match in Valencia here:

When I called this blog Where Bossa Nova is King I knew that sooner or later I would have to explain that my musical tastes reach far beyond those delightful rhythms produced by Brazilian musicians during that new wave era. We have already had Big Beat, Baile Funk and Ye Ye Music, but generally speaking it is ‘Latin American Music’ that is my passion. It’s a broad term, I know, embracing the musical genres of several diverse cultures. Less talk Joao, more music.
Here is Edmundo Ros:

This delightful gentleman is now almost 100 years old. He was born in Trinidad to a Venezuelan mother and a Scottish father. Some of the images conjured up by the songs may belong to the era before diversity and political correctness, but what a sound!

FORTY songs here!

I’m not going to post any holiday snaps here, but just take a look at this elegant gentleman:

Joao Kartoshka wishes that he could say that he had cut such a figure as he dragged himself sweatily through airports and railway stations.
If wishes were horses we would all be riders, my friends…