May 28, 2009
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Mary 2
Welcome back to another week with more news, this time from Queen Mary 2 and her first Mediterannean voyage of the year. More of that in a moment, in the meantime thank you again for your comments especially to June Kirby for her wonderful story – that’s what “We Are Cunard” is all about. We also held the first Bloggers meeting on Queen Mary 2 this week and it was great to chat to more readers of the blog and get their feedback. A special mention to Gillian Walker who has become the first guest to attend meetings on both ships – what a claim to fame! We had some good ideas this week including a suggestion that we include some reports on daily life for the crew on board Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, so I am planning to introduce the first “A Day In The Life Of………” over the next couple of weeks. Another great idea was that this Blog should do a count down to Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden Voyage. So to start that off; I can tell you it’s now just 497 days to go!
Firstly as usual, here’s “This week in Cunard’s History” for the busy week of the 29th May to the 4th June:
May 30 1914
Aquitania begins her maiden voyage
May 31 1920
The Tyrrhenia(she was later renamed Lancastria)is launched in Glasgow
June 2 1940
Queen Elizabeth slips out of the shipyard on the Clyde and instead of going to Southampton, as was the rumour, she went straight to New York and in to service as a troop ship
June 2 2008
The Queen visits QE2 for the last time in Southampton and bids her farewell, nearly 41 years after she launched the ship on the Clyde
We have just had a wonderful voyage in the Mediterranean on Queen Mary 2 and for me it was a double appreciation. Firstly I loved the itinerary of Gibraltar, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Civitavecchia (for Rome) and Lisbon because they are ports where you can always discover something new, and for guests visiting for the first time, it becomes a great sampler voyage. It was also great to be back on Queen Mary 2 as I haven’t been on board for a couple of years since joining Queen Victoria in late 2007. The ship is looking fantastic and it islovely to see friends and colleagues again, and at sea you quickly pick up from where you left off and settle back in to things very quickly. Although both ships have all the special Cunard signatures they are quite different and the question we are always asked is “Which ship do you like best?” Of course that’s an impossible question to answer as they have their own distinctions; what I can say is that I really enjoy them both.
One of the things that Queen Mary 2 has that makes her so special, is her Planetarium; still the only one at sea, and this week it was being upgraded with new projectors to make the experience even more amazing. I’ll have a special Blog telling you all about that in a few weeks.
Meanwhile, coming back to the theme of this week’s Blog there was a lot of nostalgia on board as the Cunard Insights lecture programme played host to some very influential people in the field of entertainment. I am part of a generation that was brought up on British television shows such as “The Likely Lads”, “Porridge” and “Aufwiedersehen Pet” to name just a few of the great shows written by the creative partnership of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.They are still as busy as ever and in fact it was great to hear about some of their recent projects such as the movie “Across the Universe”, which was nominated for a Golden Globe. Dick Clement is actually writing a guest blog which I am hoping to post before next week so look out for it – I think you’ll find it fascinating.
We were also lucky to have someone on board, who although you may not recognise his name, I guarantee you’ll know his work. Brad Ashton has written well over 1,000 TV and radio shows spanning 12 countries His scripts have earned him numerous prestigious awards, and his credits include series for Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson, Dick Emery, Frankie Howerd, David Frost, Dave Allen, Ken Dodd and Bob Monkhouse. He was also a head writer for the great Groucho Marx and he was reunited with one of his colleagues this week when he met up with Adrian Walsh who was a comedian performing in the Royal Court Theatre in London’s West End. They hadn’t seen each other in many years (more than they would like to admit), so it was a great reunion.
Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais are good friends with Peter Asher and they suggested he joined them in lecturing on Queen Mary 2. In fact here they all are on the Bridge with Commodore Bernard Warner.
(From left to right Archie Kennedy (Junior Watchkeeper), Nancy Clement, Ian La Frenais, Commodore Warner, Dick Clement and Peter Asher)
Many of you will recognise his name as one-half of the singing duo Peter & Gordon who amassed nine Top 20 records (three of them gold) during their career, including the hit I remember them best for; “A World Without Love” . Born in London he studied philosophy before his music career began in 1964 as a singer, but four years later became head of A&R for the Beatles newly formed record company, Apple Records, where he found, signed and produced James Taylor and worked closely with the Beatles on their individual projects.
In 1971, he moved to America and became a manager, representing James Taylor and, beginning in 1973, the management and production of Linda Ronstadt as well.He went on to become one of the most successful managers in the music industry, handling artists such as Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, and Carole King as well as James and Linda.His newest client (and his first venture outside the music business) is Pamela Anderson.
As a record producer, Peter Asher has worked with such diverse artists as Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr, Cher, Robin Williams, The Dixie Chicks and Billy Joel, among many others.He has been awarded 37 RIAA-certified gold albums and 22 platinum albums in the U.S. and many more internationally.He has produced twelve Grammy Award-winning recordings, and in 1977 and 1989 was honored with the Grammy Award for “Producer of the Year”.
I was fortunate enough to spend a little time with Peter who is someone you could listen to all evening as he had so many stories to share; much to the delight of his audiences at his two lectures.There’s a saying that says; “If you remember the 60’s you weren’t there”. Well not only was Peter there, it would be an understatement to say he certainly lived it. He was kind enough to write about his voyage on Queen Mary 2.
Peter Asher – Recording Artist and Record Producer
“This is the last night of my first voyage on Queen Mary 2 and the end of my first-ever experience as an on-board lecturer.My feelings can be summed up by my fervent wish that this was the first night rather than the last.I had a wonderful time.The ship is extraordinarily beautiful and every member of the crew and staff helpful and friendly above and beyond the call of duty.The audiences at my lectures were attentive and delightful.My wife and I had the distinct pleasure of travelling with some old and dear friends making new ones at the same time.I am already feeling nostalgic about this trip and it still has a few hours to go!Thanks so much to everyone involved – and to Alastair for his unflagging good nature and joie de vivre.”
It was a real pleasure to meet Peter and of course I’d like to thank him for sharing some of his life with us on board. As I mentioned earlier we’ll have a special Blog from Dick Clement over the next few days and more news from us next week. Cheers Alastair