All Our Yesterdays – Robin’s Nest and a Cliffhanger…..

Part 17 of our blog series taking a retrospective look back at the history of our community – mid-late 1979

Back in 2014-5, KLS Member Howard Webber wrote a series of articles for our community magazine casting a light on days gone by. He had been looking through copies of our publications from the inception of our community in 1967 and throughout the Seventies. We are now re-publishing these articles for a wider audience – we hope you will enjoy Howard’s inimitable style as he accompanies us into yesteryear, with some poetic license …….(please note, that where individuals are no longer with us, we refer to them by their initials)

‘Which of us hasn’t laughed at the hilarious mishaps in the Thames Television series “Robin’s Nest”?’

That may be the worst opening sentence for any article ever. Anyway, as to an answer: me, for one. Anyone under the age of forty who doesn’t remember it. Anyone above the age of forty who does. Anyone who has managed to blot the memory out. The list goes on. (2021 Ed – now fifty?!)

Is this much better: ‘And now – a natural cosmetic demonstration!’.

Somehow, after their period of despair in mid-1979 (told in heart-wrenching detail in the April KMB), both the Young Marrieds and the Women’s Society managed to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again. The cosmetic event was an autumn 1979 Women’s Society extravaganza. The Robin’s Nest offering was the February 1980 Young Marrieds’ event – a trip to Teddington Studios to see a recording of said show. Well, those were simpler, less sophisticated times…  

But the simplicity was fast disappearing as the 1970s came to an end. We were entering a new technological era. In the November 1979 Kingston News, PFJ reported that ‘we are trying to make it as easy as possible for the Post Office to get KINGSTON NEWS to you promptly so we are now using POST CODES on the envelopes’. Cutting edge stuff.

And the lack of sophistication, too, was under threat – this time from an anonymous theatre reviewer determined to raise KN’s cultural tone whether KN wanted its tone raised or not. The KLS Religion School had put on a Chanukah show, The Chazan of Wiz, written, inevitably, by PF-J. Someone identified merely as ‘the Dramatic Critic’ took this apart in the February 1980 KN. Within the first five sentences, s/he had namechecked Mahler’s Eighth and Haydn’s Drumroll symphonies, and noted that ‘the sound of the prolapsing intervertebral cervical discs added to the musical effect’. Later, Schoenberg got a mention, and Jonathan Swift was quoted.

Comparing myself with my distinguished predecessor, I feel more than usual a lowly hack cranking out a monthly 500 words in his freezing garret before delivering it to the state-of-the-art splendour of KMB Towers.

Meanwhile, KYPPERS – a club for teenagers begun in 1979 – was still going pretty strong. But that can be no surprise when on March 23 1980, to pick just one activity at random, it could boast that ‘Rabbi Tony Bayfield will give us his celebrated talk – “The Sex Life of a Buttered Matzo”’. (2021 Ed – What?!)

And finally… From December 1979, KN carried increasingly urgent pleas for a volunteer to take over as Hon. Secretary from GW, who, ‘having completed the maximum six years on the Synagogue Council allowed by the constitution, must retire at the next Annual General Meeting’.  We were told that ‘the Synagogue Council has searched unavailingly for a new Hon. Secretary, and it is now most seriously concerned about the future of the congregation’s affairs if one is not found’.

And was one found? Tune in next month.

“Teddington Studios front doors side view” by R/DV/RS is licensed under CC BY 2.0