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Thursday, 18 June 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping (40 years in retailing), the golden age of Hollywood (including westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. 

This is a series of very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #62 – 18 June 1961

Comedian, singer and nightclub owner Bernard Manning was born on 13 August, 1930 and died at 76 on 18 June, 2007.

The 1970s were his peak years, helped enormously by his regular television appearances on The Comedians and The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club.  He opened his own Embassy Club on Rochdale Road, Manchester.  Manning was very popular and successful, although his comedy style more than pushed the boundaries on race, sex and religion.  Very few topics were out of bounds.  Times changed and his TV career faded as the world became impatient with 'old-style' controversial comedy.

Writer and comedian Barry Cryer is quoted as saying:

The thing about Bernard was that he looked funny, he sounded funny and he had excellent timing. It was just what he actually said that could be worrying.’

A little nugget of non-showbusiness information – during the Second World War, as part of his National Service, he was posted to Germany and, for a time, was one of the squad at Spandau Prison, Berlin, guarding Nazi war criminals including Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer.

Sources: Various

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