All Our Working Lives

Discussion in 'The Auditorium - Concert Details' started by David Mann, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    I've just been watching this on BBC4 and had forgotten the music was by Carl Davis arr. Ray Farr, played by Grimethorpe. The programmes are excellent anyway, describing various traditional British industries. Well worth a watch.
    The band sound was interesting; the programmes were made in 1984 I think, but it almost sounds as though they had gone for a retro band sound. To my ears other thing recorded by Grimethorpe at the the time had a much more modern sound. Anyone here who played on it?
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  2. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Yep , been inflicting this series on the good lady for past few Sunday nights as well - very interesting watch.Agree with what you say about the "old" sound as well.Last night's was called "The Shipbuilders" and did wonder whether they might have used the eponymous work !! The other half ( who has played it ) did note some similarities , so much so that I was googling to see whether it was still Davis on this particular episode.

    On another note , what a terrible thing to see all those industries and the livelihoods of so many workers gone to pot over the years :(
  3. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    I thought I heard a bit of "Indian Summer" in there.
  4. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    On a similar-type theme , one of the satellite channels has been showing some of the Fred Dibnah series' again of late , with Dyke doing most of the incidental music, most of which seem to be old "standards" rather than actual compositions for the programme.

    Guess it is , rightly or wrongly , a bit of a stereotype to have brass associated with these industries but not a bad thing in my opinion to remind us ( or a lot of us anyway ) of our roots , or to remember the conditions in which our forbears lived and worked.

    I am a real sucker for this type of history. My late dad was a fettler of metals that worked on railway engines , and two uncles worked on the railways. I unfortunately am lacking in any form of manual skills , but I often think I was born 50 years too late and 200 miles too far south !! :)
  5. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    if you want a grim manual job there are plenty of them still around
  6. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    The programme painted the past as the worst kind of capitalism: millionaires exploiting the workers, who had no job security, poor pay and dangerous conditions. Yet as soon as the workers got a better lot the work just moved to another country with worse conditions, or where the work was automated. Jobs lost either way. Same thing has recently happened to our textile industry. Genuine question for you, then, Red Elvis: do you think a middle ground could have been found so that the workers (deliberately not saying unions) and management could have both kept something, and we'd have more industry?
  7. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Good question David.

    When we look back at the amount of work that went to foreign yards / factories , it seems to me that there were two main factors at play. Firstly , a good number of european governments were still subsidising their domestic industries even in the face of EEC ( as it was then ) regulations , thus appearing to give a false picture of the economic efficiency of those industries and products.

    Secondly , lots of work went abroad to totally unregulated markets ( India , China etc ) with little or no regard for the safety of their workers and consequently low labour costs.

    Could a middle ground have been found ? possibly with a degree of subsidy / protectionism and increased investment. Was / is this possible in the economic system in which we operate ( free market capitalism ) ? probably not.

    Ships are still being built , textiles still being spun , coal and steel being mined / smelted.The market is still there but globalisation appears to trump workers rights to a decent wage and protection in the workplace, at least as far as the west are concerned.
  8. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    There was an interestng article in the paper this week about JCB, explaining that the proportion of each machine that is produced in Britain has dropped considerably, from something like 76% to 36%. Many of the companies who used to make components to the requred standard simply no longer exisit, and the requisite skills are no longer available in the UK.
  9. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Watched a programme on BBC2 some months ago about the construction of the V class submarines up in Barrow - the point was made that , had the contract not been awarded at the point it was there was a very real danger that there would have been no craftsmen left skilled enough in the trade to teach the apprentices that were subsequently taken on.
  10. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    If I can add my t'uppenth from an engineering point of view...

    Without wanting to get overtly political the main reason for the demise of manufacturing in the UK is down to successive governments' lack of interest, starting in the 80's when Margret Thatcher waged war on the unions (not an all together bad thing IMO) right up to the present lot. Just this morning the radio news was full of how tuition fees are potentially doubling for some universities - my immediate thought was that in 6-10 years time my industry (which is already hopelessly under-valued) will be totally screwed. A decent engineering degree is five years (including an industry placement) - so how are families of kids like me from a council-estate working class background going to pay for that? One of our last batch of placement students was already over 10k in debt after just three years - the fact that when he finally qualifies his salary will be **** (but still probably over the 21K limit to pay his loan back) doesn't help.

    I was reading an article in the M*il on S*nd*y this week by Anthony Bamford (JCB family) comparing the UK economy with Germany. Germany are now coming out of their recession having only dipped briefly into it during the depths of the banking crisis. The main reason? Germany's economy is built on manufacturing - and has been since WWII. The reason we can't get our economy started is because we don't sell anything anymore. I still maintain we are the world's best engineers - and by that I mean people who find quick innovative solutions to problems - not copy like the Japanese or procrastinate like our German cousins do.

    Sure, manufacture the cheap plastic widgets out in the Far East - that makes sense as we can't compete with their labour rates, but there is still a market for high-quality, innovative products - and that's where our expertise lies, and where our government should be pitching us.

    Napoleon was right when he said we are a nation of shop-keepers - he was just a couple of hundred years too early.

    (and I said I wasn't going to get too political...:oops:)
  11. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Spot on Woodenflugel.

    As well as making the point about the future supply of graduate engineers , it seems to me that there is also a real problem in terms of recruiting entry-level youngsters that in the old days would have become apprentices and learned their trade that way.

    Take for example Leyfy's young nephew - lad of 17/18 who , by his own admission was not terribly academic so the uni route was not an option he either wanted or qualified for. Yet the last government set ridiculous targets in terms of number of kids going to uni / college , many of which accessed ridiculous degrees in mickey mouse subjects from mickey mouse institutions.

    Young Danny is desperate to learn a trade but finding a route that provides a meaningful qualificaion and experience rather than slinging him out on his ear after a couple of months is proving to be very difficult. This is a lad who is not workshy and is getting himself up of a morning at half four / five to do general labouring / builders mate jobs to at least get some experience.
  12. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    that isn't really a valid or sensible comparison.

    ignoring the lazy racial stereotyping for a moment, that is still utter nonsense. you are 100 years behind the times.
  13. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    I've worked for German, US and British owned manufacturing companies, all in the polymer industry. What was different about the German company compared to the others was their long-term commitment to the business, their respect and treatment of technologists and their drive to have the best possible processes. The others by contrast focussed more on short-term financial results and sales volume.
    I moved to sales some years ago, having been an industrial chemist, for more money and prestige. In Germany that wouldn't have happened.

    At least we have the best brass bands.

    @Wooden Flugel, hands off our plastic widgets, they pay my bills!
  14. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    My, you are really defining new boundaries for the term 'doesn't know what he's talking about' this week.
  15. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    David - was this with an English, or American company?
  16. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    I'm working for a company that was owned until April by a consortium of US and British banks, but is thankfully now owned by a Swedish company with long-term investment plans. We supply to the plastic moulding industry,there's a surprising amount of it left in UK, and they're becoming more competitive with the far east for products with low labour content.
  17. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Post edit: Sorry, got carried away and realised I've wandered way off topic....:oops:

    I've indulged in a bit of self-flagellation as punishment for my waywardness.

    Now, I believe the original topic was about the soundtrack to a TV show...
    Slider1 likes this.
  18. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    Oh go on, let's have a British manufacturing industry thread, you know you want to..
  19. worzel

    worzel Member

    Or you could turn it on it's head and say that lack of globalisation of employee protection is the problem. Can we realistically be open for free trade with the world and yet "mind our own business" when it comes to how our global competitors run their countries?
  20. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    Sadly, the majority answer seems to be "I don't care so long as I can buy things cheaply".

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