Knocker-uppers / Before the alarm clocks

Knocker-uppers / Before the alarm clocks

A Knocker-upper, was a profession in Britain and Ireland that started during and lasted well into the Industrial Revolution, when alarm clocks were neither cheap nor reliable, and to as late as the beginning of the 1920s. A knocker-up’s job was to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time.

The knocker-up used a baton or short, heavy stick to knock on the clients’ doors or a long and light stick, often made of bamboo, to reach windows on higher floors. At least one of them used a pea-shooter. In return, the knocker-up would be paid a few pence a week. The knocker-up would not leave a client’s window until they were sure that the client had been awoken.

Would also use a ‘snuffer outer’ as a tool to rouse the sleeping. This implement was used to put out gas lamps which were lit at dusk and then needed to be extinguished at dawn.

There were large numbers of people carrying out the job, especially in larger industrial towns such as Manchester. Generally the job was done by elderly men and women but sometimes police constables supplemented their pay by performing the task during early morning patrols.

 

source: wikipedia

Once upon a time with Charles Perrault

Once upon a time with Charles Perrault

Charles Perrault (12 January 1628 – 16 May 1703) was a French author and member of the Académie Française and he laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale.

Portrait (detail)of Charles Perrault by Philippe Lallemand, 1672

In 1695, when he was 67, Perrault lost his position as secretary and decided to dedicate himself to his children. In 1697 he published Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals, subtitled Tales of Mother Goose . This “Mother Goose” has never been identified as a person, but used to refer to popular and rural storytelling traditions in proverbial phrases of the time.  These tales, based on French popular tradition, were very popular in sophisticated court circles. Its publication made him suddenly very widely known and he is often credited as the founder of the modern fairy tale genre. 

Frontispiece of the only known copy of the first English edition, 1729 (Houghton Library)

Some of his popular stories, particularly Cinderella  and The Sleeping Beauty, are still commonly told similar to the way Perrault had written them, while others have been revised over the years. For example, some versions of Sleeping Beauty published today are based partially on a Brothers Grimm tale, Little Briar Rose, a modified version of the Perrault story, but the Disney version is quite true to the original Perrault tale.

Old, Old Fairy Tales: "Cinderella". She lost her slipper as she ran from the castle...

Sleeping Beauty is shown a spindle by the old woman.

 Little Red Riding Hood

Perrault had written Little Red Riding Hood as a warning to readers about men preying on young girls walking through the forest. He concludes his fairy tale with a moral, cautioning women and young girls about the dangers of trusting men. He states, “Watch out if you haven’t learned that tame wolves/ Are the most dangerous of all”. Perrault warns the readers about the manipulation and false appearances some men portray: “I say Wolf, for all wolves are not of the same sort; there is one kind with an amenable disposition – neither noisy, nor hateful, nor angry, but tame, obliging and gentle, following the young maids in the streets, even into their homes. Alas! Who does not know that these gentle wolves are of all such creatures the most dangerous!”  Indeed, the girl gets into bed with the wolf and is devoured. There is no happy ending as in most current versions of the story.

Modern uses

Little Red Riding Hood is one of the central characters in the Broadway musical Into the Woods (1987) with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Rapunzel”, and “Cinderella”, as well as several others. The musical is tied together by a story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family (the original beginning of The Grimm Brothers’ “Rapunzel”), their interaction with a witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey.

Enjoy

In a white lace universe

In a white lace universe

In a white lace universe, three inventors create machine which are both pretty and useful. Unfortunately people do not understand them…
“ Les Trois Inventeurs” (“The Three Inventors”) is a beautiful 1980 papercut animation film about a family of inventors that build amazing machines but are misunderstood by others. It’s the story of an encounter between the soaring joy of creativity and the destructive nature of fear.
The film was directed and animated by Michel Ocelot  a French writer,designer,storyboard artist and director of animated films.
His œuvre is characterised by having worked in a variety of animation techniques, typically employing a different medium for each new project, but almost exclusively within the genres of fairy tales and fairy tale fantasy. Some, are loose adaptations of existing folk tales, others are original stories constructed from the “building blocks” of such tales. He describes the process as “I play with balls that innumerable jugglers have already used for countless centuries. These balls, passed down from hand to hand, are not new. But today I’m the one doing the juggling.
I’m copying a paragraph from his bio ( website ) that i like a lot:
“My inspiration comes from my own life, from things I like and dislike —just like everybody else. One way to embark on a new story is to read some of that universal treasure-trove, traditional fairy tales. Whatever the story, whether inspired by an old legend or invented by me, I give it the form of a fairy-tale. This is the language that comes naturally to me. It enables me to do two things: to create something pleasing, beautiful, while at the same time passing on a clear message, without being hampered and weighed down by the obstacles of realism.”
Enjoy the film

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