Thursday, January 11, 2018


After watching the TV series PEAKY BLINDERS I can say it was wildly inconsistent but wildly entertaining. Part of what made it so much fun to watch was the styles of that time and place as exaggerated by the show's creators, which evoked for me the family I come from, who weren't violent like the Peaky Blinders, but shared some other things with them.

My seventh-grade-drop-out father's attempts to create and run businesses to support me and my siblings and grandparents, and his brothers and their families when they needed help which in some cases was almost always, evokes Tommy Shelby, to me. And like him, one of my father's businesses was "making book" as they called taking bets on the horse races. I grew up, in fact, answering my old man's home repair business phone only to hear instructions for bets: "So-and-so across the board in the fifth" etc. And my old man worked with the political forces like Tommy as well.

So here's some shots that evoke for me the same kinds of immigrant Irish style of the times in the show and beyond.
my father as a young man with a cousin and Irish aunt c.1920
my father (white pants) and a friend on a trip to Florida in the 1920s
my father and my three oldest brothers down the Jersey shore c. 1932
my father and one of his younger brothers we called Lydie (his name was Michael Lydon Lally but since his Irish father was also Michael everyone called him by a version of his middle name, and yes, I did once have a conversation at a party with John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) about the name and turned out his people came from near where my people came from in Ireland) c. 1940.
my father, cigarette in mouth, with his youngest brother, John, behind him in striped tee shirt c. 1940
my father, his Irish mother, my oldest brother, my mother's mother and my mother and me during WWII c. 1944
my father in the dark hat and coat when he was an old man but part of the Essex County Democratic political machine and still stylish, early 1960s

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