How Books Save Us- A Pondering by Karen Brooks

How Books Save Us- A Pondering by Karen Brooks

Written by Karen Brooks

Here we are at the tail end of a year that, in its numerical configuration alone (2020) promised so much.

Instead of clarity, pragmatism and all the other positive meanings that arise when we used to think of 2020, many of us have encountered sickness, death, loss of income, stability, isolation, family crises, never mind sadness, fear, and familial, social and state divisions. 

Throughout these long months, the arts – music, dance, poetry, prose, films, TV, clips and events on social media etc – have played an enormous role in helping us cope with the harsh reality of Covid-19 and its fallout – including the endless dismal and doom-laden news-cycle. This has enabled us to appreciate, perhaps in ways we haven’t before, the integral role the arts play in helping us understand and define what it is to be human.  

Books and fiction especially provide a measure of unquantifiable comfort in harrowing times.

 

They allow readers to escape, even briefly, the cruel or mundane veracity of the everyday and walk vicariously in someone else’s shoes, to safely experience their emotions and undergo a journey that, more often than not, resolves in a satisfying way.

More than just bibliotherapy (which is how the psychological and emotional consolation books offer is sometimes described), books can be personally transformative and, most certainly, transportative as well.

After all, when the going seems tough, there’s always a story to fall into, a lexical journey to embark upon, and sometimes quite literally lose yourself in.

According to recent studies, reading has increased anywhere from 37% – 41% during  the pandemic.

While some folk sought eschatological narratives (end of the world scenarios) in order to perhaps channel their own fears, others turned to the classics, re-read old favourites, reached for their enormous TBR piles – some of which contained books they’d been promising themselves for decades (War and Peace anyone?), found the time to increase their knowledge around certain topics (racism, politics, history etc), or took the opportunity to read genres they’ve never tried before.  

One British study simplified people’s choices as those who “read for exploration and those who re-read for safety”.  

At home, curled up in a chair or in bed, reading of other people, periods and places, is a panacea that both soothes the soul and fires the imagination. It reminds us that while we might be doing it hard (whether that’s because of the pandemic, loss, grief, sad memories, poor health, relationship issues, anger, parenthood etc), struggling or triumphing, these are what humans have done since time immemorial. We’re remarkably resilient. Sometimes, the only way to recognise and appreciate that characteristic, to understand we too will get through this, is within fiction.  

What’s evident is that books offer something few other options can: they’re the word equivalent of comfort food and we’re hungry for it.

Gratitude for what creative artists have given us during lockdown – through their books, art, music, film, dance, TV, social media, cyber-performance etc – has been loud and clear right around the world. What a pity our government cannot acknowledge the importance of the arts and artistes; their intrinsic social, cultural and personal value, choosing instead to cut funding to important bodies and prizes, or offer meagre and competitive grants and loans – and at a time when both the creators and the grateful public need the arts most.

Creative artists are both inventors and curators of culture, of our collective imaginations and hearts. Their work worms its way into our souls and minds, becoming part of individual histories, our memories; they’re a short-cut to a moment in time, even to a version of ourselves we no longer recognise – for better and worse.

Books allow us to escape the nightmare of the present (or past) and dream of other spaces, possibilities; of different ways of being. They enable us to move beyond the present and imagine a different future and even, in our darkest moments, a better one.

About Karen: 

 Dr. Karen Brooks: is an Author,  columnist, social commentator and academic. Karen is also a part of a gorgeous brewery in Tasmania with her partner. The brewery and the authory keep her busy!

www.karenrbrooks.com

Twitter: KarenBrooksAU

Associate Professor and Honorary Senior Research Fellow IASH, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland.

Join Karen for great conversations and sharing on FaceBook: Karen Brooks Author – love to have you!

 

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How to Encourage a Love of Reading in Your Children

How to Encourage a Love of Reading in Your Children

Written by Katie Moore

The benefits of reading are hugely impactful in many different areas of your child’s life, and not just in the classroom.

Reading builds your child’s imagination, increases their vocabulary and helps them develop critical social and communication skills that will prepare them well for later in life.

Reading can also help kids become more emotionally literate with both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ emotions. This in turn helps them become more open when it comes to talking about how they’re feeling. 

It’s obvious that reading can help your children in school, but studies have shown that it goes beyond mere English lessons. A UK study by the Institute of Education showed that reading for pleasure can increase a child’s cognitive development across many areas, including a 9.9% advantage in mathematics. 

Reading helps your child build wider knowledge about the world around them, exposing them to different cultures, perspectives and ideas from the comfort of their own home.

Reading helps your child build wider knowledge about the world around them, exposing them to different cultures, perspectives and ideas from the comfort of their own home.

On top of all that, reading gives your children a fantastic alternative to screens. This year, and with the on-set of the pandemic ourchildren – and ourselves – are spending more time than ever in front of a screen. Living, learning and evolving online.

We’d all love ourchildren to spend a little less time glued to a device or TV series, but it couldn’t be more important today, to make time for a book.

So, the benefits of reading are clear. But how can parents encourage regular reading and eventually foster a lifelong love of books?

Use this Book Week to re-introduce the habit of reading, whether that time is every day, before bed or even a specific time slot set aside each weekend; here are some simple tips and tricks to help make the activity a regular, enjoyable experience for your child.

Make it a regular activity

Reading regularly with children is very important. The minimum recommendation is to read a book a week with your children, however I believe that once a day is a better baseline to aim for. Build reading into your child’s everyday bedtime routine, and soon it’ll become as regular as brushing their teeth. 

Select the right book

Having the ability to select the right book seems to be an important factor in children’s excitement around reading: nearly three-quarters of kids aged 6–17 (74%) responded to a Scholastic Kids study to say that they would read more if they could find more books that they like.

In my own home, I foster my children’s love of reading by building excitement throughout the day. Each afternoon we select our bedtime book – one book for each child – and pop it on their beds. My children get so excited to narrow down their book selection that it makes it easier to get them to bed, because they know they have that specially selected book waiting for them. 

 

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Give back control

While screen time requires at least some parental control, reading is a safe independent alternative – as long as you’ve checked the recommended reading age, of course!

A trip to the library or bookstore can also help build a sense of ownership around reading, especially if you let the kids have total control over what they select. 

Start a discussion

I try to build a discussion around the books we’re reading, instead of simply shutting the book and being done with it. Instead, we have a little chat about what’s happening as we go through, or talk about what we thought about the story when we’ve finished, including how the different characters must have felt. It’s a great way to help their comprehension of the story, and work on building their emotional vocabulary. 

Start young

While it’s never too late to introduce a child to books and reading, it’s ideal to nurture it in them from birth. It doesn’t always have to be a traditional written story per se: you can still find a lot to explore in a basic picture book, with many different things to point out and talk about through illustration alone. 

Credits

About Katie Moore, founder of Luxuread:

Katie Moore is the founder of Luxuread, a book subscription box that delivers a hand-picked book every single month alongside indulgent treats from Australian producers. Created in 2018, Luxuread is helping adults and kids alike take time out of their busy days to sit down, relax, and read. To date, Luxuread has sent out over 5,000 boxes filled with incredible reads and indulgent treats to customers around Australia and beyond. Katie has recently launched Luxuread Kids, sending children three surprise books tailored to their age every month. https://luxuread.com.au/

Photo credit Katie Moore

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Torrens University and Beyond Blue Launch Free Mental Health Course

Torrens University and Beyond Blue Launch Free Mental Health Course

Written by Renae Failla 

Warning: This article deals with the sensitive topic of suicide and mental health. If you (or someone you know) need support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 available 24/7. You can also text 0477 13 11 14 from 12 pm to midnight for support.

It’s no surprise that during the first stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, 78% of Australians have claimed their mental health was impacted.

(PLoS ONE, Acute mental health responses during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.)

The very real fact is that people have taken their own lives as a result of the pandemic crisis for an abundance of reasons, be it the loss of jobs, the closing of small businesses, halts to education, life milestones and isolation.

To coincide with World Mental Health Day, Torrens University and Beyond Blue have joined forces to run a free online short course exploring experiences of people living with depression and their journeys.

The four-week course will begin on Monday 26th October 2020 and is titled Understanding Depression: Learning from Lived Experience. While the course is presented by Torrens University lecturers, those who partake will also get to hear directly from people who have lived with depression as well as Beyond Blue representatives.

Kath Curry, General Manager of Health and Education at Torrens University comments “We talk a lot about mental health, but sometimes it can be difficult to know how to support someone from the outside looking in.” The course will aim to help people take the first step in supporting someone with their recovery journey by ultimately stepping into the shoes of someone who has had a first-hand experience.

The inevitable COVID spike in people experiencing depression and related symptoms has made it more important than ever to address mental health and equipping people with the tools to identify what depression looks like.

Georgia Harman, CEO of Beyond Blue stresses the variability of depression in each person “Depression may not look the same for everybody – and that’s why it’s important to learn the signs. It’s also important to note that depression doesn’t only affect the individual experiencing it, it also affects those around them. This course – designed by lived experience experts – will help people ‘on the outside’ to better  understand, connect with and respond to those living with depression.”

Meet Paul Grainger – Torrens University Australia Success Coach

We had a chat with Paul Grainger, Torrens University Australia Success Coach, Blue Voices member and mental health guest speaker. Paul is 27 years old and has experienced both anxiety and depression as well as a family history of suicide. For Paul, his first experiences of depression and suicidal thoughts began when he was only 16 and peaked again at the age of 23 where a myriad of thoughts ran through his head and he thought he was at the end of the road. Paul unknowingly took the steps to help himself ending up at the local hospital and being discharged 4 days later.

Since then, Paul has changed his perception and approach to life with the assistance of friends and work managers. Friends and colleagues have been ears to listen without inferring judgement or solutions which he believes is important and was exactly what he needed.

Amidst COVID-19, one of the most difficult times for many, Paul not only graduated with Bachelor of Business from Torrens University but has begun his role as a Success Coach. Paul stresses at this time it is imperative to be “radically kind to ourselves” and reframe every experience to “give pain purpose”.

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In preparation for the course, what are some tips that you would give to young people living with depression based on your own personal experience?

Simply, remove the pressure, explore your curiosity, let go of the expectations created by society; ‘you do you’, as the expression goes. Throughout school I was a dreamer, an entrepreneur, an athlete, an academic; there were so many pathways that I could pursue. And yet, I was also unable to look at myself in the mirror and, sometimes for months, be unable to get out of bed. Why? I’d built an enormous expectation for what I thought I was meant to achieve, none of which seemed possible. And every time I would look into the mirror, I would reaffirm this impossibility.

So, my suggestion for young people is simply, as cliché as it might be, to let go and allow what’s meant to come, come. With this too, be patient. It’s taken me almost 10 years to fully embody this philosophy; I just wish I’d be kinder to myself in that time and to enjoy more of the moments between then and now.

And finally, if I can be so bold, delete social media (or at least turn off notifications). Spend more time connecting with your friends and family and having fun.

 

What can we expect from the 4-week course: Understanding Depression: Learning from Lived Experience?

Over the 4-week short course, participants will learn about depression directly from those with their own lived experiences. As they will see, depression looks different for everyone, and so they’ll hear from the stories of a range of men and women, young and older, to challenge stereotypes and spark conversations. What I love most about this course and why it’s going to be so impactful, is that it’s not presented from a ‘clinical’ point of view; it’s not esoteric and scientific; it’s real stories, real voices, and real insights into what it’s like and how we as family and friends can support one another better.

It will discuss what led up to the experience, the things that guide beliefs, values and expectations, the things that can help us during ‘low’ periods whilst also exploring the things we must do more of to help us stay well and prevent some of the early symptoms. In addition, some of the course content will be delivered by experienced Torrens University lecturers who have worked in the area of mental health for many years.

We know that warning signs of depression can be different from person to person but what are some key signs that individuals can look out for in their loved ones and friends?

If I am to look back on my own lived experience with depression as a school leaver and young adult, I’d see myself losing enthusiasm for the things I once loved to do; I’d see myself not going out for those bike rides any more, not wanting to go out to the go-kart track to race that weekend. I’d see myself cancelling plans with friends or, perhaps more often, I’d see myself not making any plans in the first place because I was terrified that when the day came, I wouldn’t be able to leave the house; I was terrified that people would notice or ask too many questions if I wasn’t as chatty as normal. 

I’d also see myself sleeping more – a lot more – and recognise the thought in my mind that my dreams created a better reality than reality itself; it was this destructive escape that I would be drawn to for months at a time. Of course, I would be so frustrated at my inability to ‘see the woods from the trees’ that I loathed my need to try and explain to people what was happening; relationships soured and my ability to deal with trivial challenges became harder and harder. It seemed so logical for me at the time to withdraw completely from society, self-sabotaging relationships and opportunities, not knowing of course that the one thing that was going to help me was the exact opposite.

Tell us more about how can we be a positive support to someone who is/has been suffering from depression?

It’s really important that friends don’t feel any pressure to be able to ‘solve’ anything. There’s a reason trained professionals like psychologists exist. To be a positive support to someone with depression can simply mean letting them know you’re there to listen, not to offer advice or prescribe any solutions, just to listen. By educating ourselves on what to look for, through resources like those available in the Understanding Depression MOOC, and by engaging with the Beyond Blue website, we can understand in greater depth what’s going on and perhaps fill our toolkit with tips and tools on the types of support that we can offer that won’t do more harm than good. In some of my darkest moments, I thought that I was ‘throwing everything away’ and had nothing to live for, and so to know that I had friends who were still there, and would still be there, for whenever I was ready, meant so much and gave me a reason to keep going.

Tell us one positive mantra that you love to live by?

Prayer, patience and perseverance.

Participants of the Understanding Depression: Learning from Lived Experience course will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course and it will require a 2-hour commitment each week.

For more information, to meet the people who share their experiences with depression in the MOOC, or to register go to: https://www.torrens.edu.au/understanding-depression-learning-from-lived-experience.

 Resources: 

Black Dog Institute https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/ 

World Mental Health Day https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/world-mental-health-day-2020

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14

You can also text 0477 13 11 14 from 12 pm to midnight for support.

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A Guide To Looking After Our Mental Health- World Mental Health Day

A Guide To Looking After Our Mental Health- World Mental Health Day

As measures to restrict movement as part of efforts to reduce the infections of COVID-19, many of us are faced with making epic and not always welcome changes to our daily lives.

 

We have faced some new realities of curfews, restricted travel, working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling, and the lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues may be aspects we won’t ever get used to. Anyone missing hugs?

Adapting to aspects like the reduction of human physical connection, the distance of family members, economic factors, home-schooling, and the interruption to the basic essentials in life on so many levels is challenging for us all.  If you add in managing any fear of contracting the virus, or the societal impact of the situation, it is far from normal. There are many in our community already vulnerable that are now impacted even more so, and there are those who will become vulnerable as a result of our world situation. Mental Health is paramount even more than ever. 

There are scaffolding and tips we have researched you might find useful. These are provided by the World Health Organisation, the organizers of World Mental Health Day. 

 

 

  • Keep informed. Listen to advice and recommendations from your national and local authorities. Follow trusted news channels, such as local and national TV and radio, and keep up-to-date with the latest news from @WHO on social media.

 

  • Have a routine. Keep up with daily routines as far as possible, or make new ones.  

 

  • Get up and go to bed at similar times every day.

 

  • Keep up with personal hygiene.

 

  • Eat healthy meals at regular times.

 

  • Exercise regularly.

 

  • Allocate time for working and time for resting.

 

  • Make time for doing the things you enjoy

 

  • Minimize newsfeeds. Try to reduce how much you watch, read or listen to news that makes you feel anxious or distressed. Seek the latest information at specific times of the day, once or twice a day if needed. 

 

  • Social contact is important. If your movements are restricted, keep in regular contact with people close to you by telephone and online channels.

 

  • Alcohol and drug use. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink or don’t drink alcohol at all. Don’t start drinking alcohol if you have not drunk alcohol before. Avoid using alcohol and drugs as a way of dealing with fear, anxiety, boredom and social isolation.

 

  • There is no evidence of any protective effect of drinking alcohol for viral or other infections. In fact, the opposite is true as the harmful use of alcohol is associated with increased risk of infections and worse treatment outcomes.

 

  • And be aware that alcohol and drug use may prevent you from taking sufficient precautions to protect yourself again infection, such as compliance with hand hygiene.

 

  • Screen time. Be aware of how much time you spend in front of a screen every day. Make sure that you take regular breaks from on-screen activities.

 

  • Video games. While video games can be a way to relax, it can be tempting to spend much more time on them than usual when at home for long periods. Be sure to keep the right balance with off-line activities in your daily routine.

 

  • Social media. Use your social media accounts to promote positive and hopeful stories. Correct misinformation wherever you see it.

 

  • Help others. If you are able to, offer support to people in your community who may need it, such as helping them with food shopping.

 

  • Support health workers. Take opportunities online or through your community to thank your country’s health-care workers and all those working to respond to COVID-19. 

Don’t discriminate

Fear is a normal reaction in situations of uncertainty. But sometimes fear is expressed in ways which are hurtful to other people. Remember:  

  • Be kind. Don’t discriminate against people because of your fears of the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Don’t discriminate against people who you think may have coronavirus.
  • Don’t discriminate against health workers. Health workers deserve our respect and gratitude.
  • COVID-19 has affected people from many countries. Don’t attribute it to any specific group.

Doing What Matters in Times of Stress: An Illustrated Guide is a stress management guide for coping with adversity. The guide aims to equip people with practical skills to help cope with stress. A few minutes each day are enough to practice the self-help techniques. The guide can be used alone or with the accompanying audio exercises.

Informed by evidence and extensive field testing, the guide is for anyone who experiences stress, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances. You can get your copy here: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240003927

Ponderings Subscribers jump over to the App to get your PDF copy. 

Resources: 

 

Black Dog Institute https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/ 

World Mental Health Day https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/world-mental-health-day-2020

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14

You can also text 0477 13 11 14 from 12 pm to midnight for support.

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We Celebrate People Shining Hope On Mental Health

We Celebrate People Shining Hope On Mental Health

As World Mental Health Day arrives, it is more timely than ever to reflect on the societal conditions the global pandemic has swept in with it.

Whilst the serious impacts continue to reverberate around the globe, for some the abrupt changes to working environments have presented hope. You see there are those holding a torch high for others in the darkened halls of the pandemic isolation. 

Cheryl Stevens from atWork Australia is just one of these torchbearers. 

The Employer Engagement Consultant is passionate about spreading awareness on World Mental Health Day.

 

“Throughout my life, I have witnessed people around me struggle with mental health issues. I’ve seen how deeply it can affect people and how with the right support, how much their lives can improve, so I aspire to spread awareness so that those who are facing difficult times can reach out and get the help they need” says Cheryl. 

 

Recent studies have presented exciting possibilities for those with mental health conditions and employment opportunities. According to atWork Australia, there has been a 52% rise in people finding work during September, compared to March of this year. This is a surprising and positive sign in a time riddled with fear around employment. Lockdown conditions are driving consumers to local-centric purchasing behaviour, and the demand for jobs suited to people living with mental health conditions is rising according to atWork Australia sources. 

“It’s rewarding to see someone grow and gain enough self-confidence to build a future to look forward to. I feel excited and proud to be a part of their journey” says Cheryl. 

 “In Victoria, we are seeing the biggest number of roles that are relevant for our clients living with mental health conditions, since the start of COVID-19. These range from opportunities for baristas and kitchen hands, to warehousing pick packers and supermarket delivery drivers,” 

 Cheryl was inspired to join atWork Australia after she discovered their motto “Nothing is more powerful than getting the right person into the right job” and saw the difference they were making in people’s lives. 

 “We recently placed a 23-year-old client who had been applying for work for 72 weeks, while going through coaching to manage his condition, low self-esteem and social anxiety. After more than 18 months of hard work, he was able to get his first-ever job within a local warehouse during Victoria’s hardest lockdown. This is the type of impact the changing job landscape is creating.”

 “Generally, employers aren’t concerned about a candidate’s mental health condition and are focused on what they can bring to the job,” continues Cheryl. 

 “In fact, one company owner asked if there was an opportunity to hire more people with mental health conditions, or people living with a disability, as she found they were harder working and more engaged in the business,” she adds. 

 World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity for businesses to ponder on how they adopt opportunities like this in their business and positively impact the lives of others. Inclusivity and diversity are calling you Ponderers! 

 

Resources: 

 

atWork Australia: https://www.atworkaustralia.com.au/des/ 

 

Black Dog Institute https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/ 

 

World Mental Health Day https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/world-mental-health-day-2020

 

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14

 

You can also text 0477 13 11 14 from 12 pm to midnight for support. 

About atWork Australia Disability Employment Services

atWork Australia is a leading employment services provider working with Australians in over 300 locations across the nation. atWork Australia’s Disability Employment Services support people with disability, injury, illness or mental health condition to find the right job with the right employer.

To do that, the team work with people to identify their goals and aspirations, build skills and job-readiness, and coach them through interviews and into employment – as well as work with prospective employers to support and help them realise the benefits of employing a diverse workforce. In short, the team’s approach is to support a person in the way that most helps them transform their life.

atWork Australia are committed to providing truly excellent employment support services, making a real difference to people’s lives and helping employers find truly great people for their business.

 

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Photo credit: Cheryl Stevens

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Gen Anthems That Rocked Our World  Part 1: 1920s-1950s

Gen Anthems That Rocked Our World Part 1: 1920s-1950s

Written by Montanna Macdonald

From the 1920s to the 2020s, from Blues, Jazz, swing, pop, rock, reggae, rap and everything in between, here at Ponderings we have brought together the generational hits of the western world in a three-part series.

Highlighting the political discourse and issues of the time, the art form of music as a communication platform for social change is evident throughout our history. These artists have succeeded and confronted the many facets of revolutionary, culturally challenging ideas and civil movements for the greater good of a collective human feeling. In Part 1, we will be exploring the 1920s to the 1950s and their music scenes. 

First, let’s take our Ponderer’s back to the 1920s, the roaring Gatsby era of speakeasies and the Harlem Renaissance. 

1920’s 

 

First, paint yourself a picture, immerse yourself into Bazz Luhrmann’s 2013 Great Gatsby to encapsulate what a liberating, radical age the roaring 20s were.  

As technological advancement changes the music industry forever, society can take music home via radio and vinyl. In 1919 America, the manufacturing and sale of alcohol is banned, resulting in the ‘prohibition era’ where many people were flocking to speakeasies jazz bars to listen to controversial revolutionary music and illicitly drink alcohol. 

Beginning in New Orleans in African-American communities, Jazz and Ragtime roots spread to Chicago and New York, with African American and European American jazz music colliding, transforming the social landscape. Famous artists that iconically represent this era include Bessie Smith, Cliff Edwards, Duke Ellington Orch, Louis Armstrong and one of the first famous European American white women recognised for singing Jazz, Marion Harris. We also cannot forget the slow emergence of southern country music.

Artists like Vernon Dalhart became the first national success country singer with the song ‘the wreck of the old 97’ about the derailment of the Southern Railway Fast Mail train No. 97 in Virginia after crashing into a ravine and killing nine people on board. 

This was the decade of artistic, intellectual and social African-American culture blossoming in Harlem, Manhattan, New York.

The birth of the American flapper girl also arises, inhabiting what was considered “male” like behaviour with short hair, smoking cigarettes and dancing in speakeasies. The roaring twenties generation came to a halt in 1929 on October 29 ‘Black Tuesday’ after the fall of Wall Street stock prices, leading to our next generation, the 1930’s and the Great Depression. 

1930’s – 1940’s 

The Jazz and blues era was influencing a new sound, swing music—a world puzzled by the losses and successes of war, the Great Depression and racial prejudice. The 1930s becomes the gateway platform for Old Hollywood romanticised swing music and communicating African-American generational pain. We see the birth of ‘pop stars’, mostly recognised as male blues singers such as Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby. 

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

With the emergence of Old Hollywood, film had a significant influence on music, creating global western world hits like Judy Garland’s 1939 Somewhere Over the Rainbow for the film The Wizard of Oz directed by Victor Fleming. 

 

However, the 1930s began to see music as an instrument for protest.

One of the most influential songs of the time includes Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit 1939, protesting the monstrosity lynching of African-Americans that were terrifyingly common at the time in Southern America. This song is considered the revolutionary beginning of the civil rights movement. 

The 1940s strives with Jazz, swing and blues, big band sounds but also the rise of country music.

With global communication in World War II, radio and recordings made artists’ as well as musical genres globally’ famous and influential in the western world between allies, even in Australia. As a sign of the times, music is primarily focused on producing war songs, but also becoming a propaganda tool, surrounding the want to end the war and bring soldiers home. 

Even after the war, the culture of Jazz from the west could not be ignored, with Minister of Propaganda for the Nazi’s Joseph Geobells, creating a Nazi swing band called Charlie and his Orchestra as a war tool to turn western music songs against itself. Songs were released called “let’s go bombing”, and “so you left me for the leader of the soviets” as mimics of popular American songs. They did not become a huge success. 

1950’s

Ahhh the age of rock and roll; not a lot of social change, but a whole lot upbeat post-war celebratory love making music. Welcome Baby Boomers. The 1950s were the parents to world-class Jazz, pop, rhythm and blues, swing, doo-wop, country and, American southern rockabilly. Elvis, Chuck Berry, Bill Hayley & His Comets, Louis Armstrong and more Elvis! 

 

To listen to many of the songs that rocked our world, you can listen to Pondering’s Music Playlist here! 

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