.................with apologies to Alistair Cook

Friday, 26 September 2008

Route 66 and boxing..

How do the two go together?

"Route 66" - the classic Chuck Berry song that fuelled a generation of musicians' (and non-musicians in my case) fantasies about the great wide open spaces and roads of America. Without Mr. Berry, would both Brian Jones and Keith have got together? Would most of the 60s UK musicians have started playing? God forbid, The Clash may not have stormed the portals and blown away this particular Brit...

Chuck Berry - convicted under the Mann Act for transporting a woman across states lines for "immoral purposes" i.e "rape" but a statute only generally applied to black men who got "uppity" - and make no mistake, Mr Berry for all his success, was seen as a clear and present danger to the morals of American youth and, by extension, (excuse the blatant play on that old 'black male = Crawling King Snake' cliche) the virginity of said pure, innocent, fair maidens.

Hell, even Bill Haley was seen as a threat - and he was merely white, balding, fat and (in my view) not a threat to even my grandmother, but, he played that (to "white" ears), devils' music...

And finally, Jack Johnson (pause for the requisite tunes by Dylan and Miles), boxer, star, also convicted under the Mann Act, some 50 years earlier, and the subject of a headline today from the BBC:

Pardon sought for first black heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson: "The US Congress recommends that a pardon be granted to the first black heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson."

And all that as a lead in to a description of our Route 66 trip...