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Monday, 28 December 2015

Y is for Yuletide

Some folks get to December 26 and automatically stop listening to Christmas-related music. Of course, they may have been hearing it since late November, on US Thanksgiving, or even earlier. Whereas I don't even START until December 6, when and play it until Epiphany.

A dictionary definition of yuletide is the period extending from December 24 to January 6. Yule is a "a festival observed by the historical Germanic peoples, later undergoing Christianised reformulation resulting in the now better-known Christmastide."

Here's another description.

One Christmas song that use the word is Deck the Halls - "Troll the ancient Yuletime carol." What does that mean?!
"According to the OED, one of the meanings of 'troll,' in use since the 16th century, is 'to sing in a full, rolling voice; to chant merrily or jovially.'"

Another Yule reference is in The Christmas Song, perhaps better known as Chestnuts Roasting By An Open Fire: "Yuletide carols being sung by a choir."
You can hear and read about the song here.
This is a lovely story about co-writer Mel Torme.

Monday, 21 December 2015

X for Xenophobia

ABC-Wednesday-17aMrs. Nesbitts' ABC-Wednesday
 Round ~ 17X 

Hello and good morning, -afternoon, -evening, dear people  who all participate is this wonderful photomeme, which is a joy to me, week after week, after week. I'm always curious to what you come up with!

This week's challenging letter is X and the word i've chosen is XENOPHOBIA 

 Although this is a word wich is actual everywhere all the time... throughout historie even... its now present and very actual in the country where i live in, The Netherlands, as in surrounding countries in Europe. Maybe even outside Europe too, maeby even in the country you live in?! 

Lots of people spread malicious stories for the one and only purpose to create more hate and whatever more they want to achieve. Those people make me afraid, sad, and yes, angry even. 

One might expect that the people who work for Radio- & Tv-stations, or other media who spreads news ... might bring objective news, weaned from their personal opinion, but sadly enough that is not the case. Lots of 'media' are actually contributing to the fear lots of people allready  have. 

Maybe I see it all wrong but does not everyone have the right to exist? Does not everyone have the right to have a roof above their head, food in their stomachs, a bed to sleep in and lots of stuff more that we take for granted most of the time?  

Why, I wonder, is it so hard to have compassion for our fellow human being?  I, for approximately 40 years now, do work as a volunteer, all those years now I try to do the best I can in helping another person who needs help... in a way I'm able to provide. I realy don't care what colour of skin that person has, which belief he has (or not), what his origin is, what the level of his intelligence is, or what capabilities he has or lacks. All I see is a person who needs something what i can provide; it's that simple.... right? To me it is, obviously!

Of course, I am not stupid. I am aware of the misery lots of people do to another person..... I even can tell experiences of my own about horrific things... but... the harm-doer is NOT a foreigner by definition.

I hope and pray... that all of you are well and blessed, I wish you that you will stay that way, that no harm comes to you and that you do no harm to another!  And most of all, I wish that if it might happen that you come into a position where you need help... that there will be people who help you with whatever you need!!

Have a nice ABC-day / ABC-week
♫ M e l o d y ♫

Monday, 14 December 2015

Introduction W.

 I introduce this letter because  my maiden name starts  with W. I saw Roger do this game, when the G was having its turn.

1.Family name? Wouters! This is also my maiden name. In the Netherlands the family name of the husband comes first, followed by the maiden name of the married lady. In my case it'll be:"Francois-Wouters".

2 First name? Wilhelmina. At the time when I was born we had a Queen Wilhelmina,  I was not named after her but after my grandmother.

3 An animal?A wolf, spelled the same way in Dutch and English.

4.A boy’s name:Wim ( short for Willem, which is William in English)

5 A girl’s name:Wil, Wendy, Winny, Wanda,etc...

6. An occupation?:A watchmaker, a weaver....

7. A color?White...

8 Something you wear? Wellingtons

9. A beverage? Whiskey

10. A food?Water-melon

11. Something found in bathroom?Warm water  (same spelling in Dutch or English),a wash basin.

12. A town? Washington

13. A flower? Wistaria

14. A country? Wales, a Celtic country in the United Kingdom

If you join us, please show us a photo, poem or article beginning with W, and mention this meme in your post or in the sidebar. We like to welcome you in our bloggingcompany.


Monday, 7 December 2015

V stands for Verse, and Virus.

There was an old man of  Vesuvious

 Who studied the work of Vitruvious

When the flames burnt his book

 To drinking he took

 That morbid old man of Vesuvious !
The Old Man Of Vienna.
There was an old man of Vienna
Who lived on a tincture of Senna
 When that did not agree,
 He took Camomile tea
That nasty old Man of Vienna.
 The above Nonsense Verses are from one of my favourite poet's collection,
 Edward Lear,  reknown for his writing 
 of silly limericks .
My apologies for the meagre offering re my introduction but I have been struck low with a nasty Virus, it has erupted like  Mount Vesuvious ( see picture above at the beginning) . So it's back to bed, now that I've managed to scramble this together.
 Best wishes Di.
My sincere thanks to the vivacious Denise for devising ABCW and the veritable Roger for doing what he does each week with such valour. Thanks also to the team of helpers who assist Roger with the visits to other contributors. 


Monday, 30 November 2015


ABC-Wednesday-17a Mrs. Nesbitts' ABC-Wednesday Round ~ 17 U    

Hello and good morning, -afternoon, -evening, dear people who participate is this wonderful photomeme, which is a joy to me, week after week, after week. I am always curious to what everyone of you comes up with!

This week's challenging letter is U and the word i've chosen is UNIQUE

We, people, are all alike and at the same time, nobody equals every other person. That is unique all by itself. Of course... we will meet, throughout our entire life, people who we don't like from the first second. Sometimes that changes and sometimes it doesn't. The uniqueness of every person makes that one 'deserves' a closer look. Can that other one become someone who we will (learn to) love and cherish or avoid in the future? The unique factor is that we will never know what will happen between you and that other person, it will always has a surprising element in it. A nice one ore a lesser nice one.

I think that I am not the only one who has 'been forced' to conclude that the first impression was wrong at sometimes, in both ways. One who seemed a very nice person turned out to be not and the other way around too. I even think that I am not the only person who had to let go someone which I loved because of whatever reason which caused that person and me to get 'strangers'. There are people who say that love and hate lie close to each other. And yes, they might be right but Love is a wonderful feeling where hate is not even though both feelings are genuine and have the right to exist. Personally I've learned that hate will hurt just one person, myself... the lesson I've learned from that is that I don't want to live my life and waste time with hating people.

It took some time, of course, to make it, how do I put it..., to learn to let go the negativeness about someone who I once loved, maybe still do, but don't want to let be part of my life in the future. One can love another person but not like him?! So... unique is my word of choice for this week's challenging letter. Like you and anybody else, I am a unique person and I think we all should be proud about what we have accomplished so far no matter how bad and hard some times were and, (hopefully not!) will be in the future to come. Every moment is a unique one, wich we should try to make the best off! We will never get the chance to do it over again. Wishing you the awareness of the uniqueness of every moment and the ability to enjoy and cherish it to the fullest!

Have a nice ABC-day / ABC-week ♫ M e l o d y ♫



Tuesday, 24 November 2015

T is for Tease

It's that TIME again.

When I get to TEASE you with a sneak preview of the design for next round's badge.

I'm being terribly selfish this round and going with something near and dear to me.

Many of you know I was in a serious industrial accident ten years ago.

 After years of rehab and physical therapy I was able to return to work this year driving a TRUCK.

 Since the number 18 makes me think of TRUCKING, I wanted to do something for round 18 that paid a TRIBUTE to the men and women around the world who work long hard hours to bring us the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the toys we enjoy, and the food we eat.

 Additionally, as Roger pointed out to me, many people start driving at the age of 18, or start their own adventures heading out into the world, so this is a nod to the freedom of 18 as well.

Keep on TRUCKING, ABC Wednesday! 18 and rolling on.

 Now that you've seen my TEASE, It's your turn.

 What did the letter T inspire you to blog about this week?

Monday, 16 November 2015

S stands for SILLY.

I feel like being silly so here's some silly prose

 and I hope it makes you smile.

Limerick by Edward Lear.

There was an old lady of France

 who taught little ducklings to dance

 When she said, "Tick a Tack"!

They only said  "Quack"!

 which grieved that old lady of France

Silly Poem by Spike Milligan.

Said Hamlet to Ophelia

  I'll draw a sketch of thee

 What kind of pencil shall  I use

 2B or not 2B?

SKATEBOARD..... (anon).

I tried to ride a Skateboard,

 I fell and scraped my knee, 

 I tried to ride a bicycle

 I crashed into a tree. 

 I tried to ride a scooter

 I landed on my chin,

 I tried to ride a unicycle;

 lost a bit of skin.

 I even tried a tricycle

 but ran into a wall,

 I'm happy in this wheelchair now

 I never fall at all.

My thanks to the sensational Denise for devising ABCW and also to the sagely Roger our admin man! Not forgetting the team of saintly admin helpers too!


Monday, 9 November 2015

R is for Roger Green
LogoThere are
people named Roger Green in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Ken Levine, the "Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer" wrote about other guys named Ken Levine. That was such a swell idea that I thought I'd follow suit. Well, not EXACTLY; I thought I'd use my OWN name instead. Let's start with the Wikipedia:

Roger Green, the Welsh professional rugby league footballer of the 1930s, who was born before 1915, which makes him very old.

Roger (Gilbert) Lancelyn Green (2 November 1918 – 8 October 1987) was a British biographer and children's writer. He was an Oxford academic who formed part of the Inklings literary discussion group along with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien."

Roger Curtis Green (15 March 1932 – 4 October 2009) was an American born, New Zealand-based archaeologist. He was very accomplished, and I was actually sad when he died.

Roger Green (born 2 June 1943) is a Canadian former sailor who competed in the 1968 Summer Olympics.

Roger L. Green (born June 23, 1949) is an American legislator who served in the New York State Assembly for 26 years, from 1981 to 2007 (with a brief interruption in 2004), parts of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. More on him later.

Additionally, there is

Roger Green's Feng Shui Professional Certification Program

Roger Green founded Roger Green and Associates, Inc. (RG+A) in 1991. He serves as President and Chief Executive Officer. Over the past twenty years, Roger has worked to design marketing research methods, insights, and modeling tools that promote greater understanding of what drives value in pharmaceutical markets.

Roger Green makes custom guns, including rifles and shotguns, does metalwork, stockwork, inletting, and sells pedigree gun dogs.

Roger Green, co-founder of one of the first alternative medicine centers in Australia, served as director of the Australian School of Healing from 1985 to 1999.

There are more, surely.

Roger L. Green the legislator, of course, worked in Albany, which is one of the reasons I tend to use my middle name, to distinguish myself from him. Moreover, he's black, and sometimes when I'd be introduced to people, they'd ask if I were in the Assembly; heck, no, I'm MUCH taller than that guy, by three or four inches at least.

One day, I came home from work, and there was a phone message from WCBS-TV in New York City, asking me to call them. They wanted to know if I had a comment about the death of Yusuf Hawkins in Bensonhurst. I hadn't seen the news yet, so I had no idea who Yusef Hawkins was, quite possibly until the next morning. But, naturally, they didn't want MY comment, they wanted Roger L. Green's, who represented that part of Brooklyn.

Too many state legislators in New York State have been involved in illegal activities, and Assemblyman Green was no exception: "Green resigned his seat in June 2004, after pleading guilty to petty larceny in connection with $3000 in false travel reimbursement claims. As part of a plea deal, he served three years' probation, was fined $2,000 fine, and had to pay $3,000 in restitution. Later than same year, he ran and was re-elected to the same seat."

But he ran for Congress a couple years later and lost, so isn't in Albany anymore.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Q is for quiet

Hello and good morning, -afternoon, -evening, dear people who participate is this wonderful photomeme, which is a joy to me, week after week, after week. Always curious to what everyone of you comes up with.

 This week's challenging letter is Q. The word I've chosen this time is "QUIET". On the photo you see Nigel Brown. He is a Dutch performing artist and for the past 4 years part of the cast of JEANS. 25 September 2015 started the new season.

At this particular moment in the show... he stands on stage all by himself with 1 of the 4 musicians behind him and together they perform the Jeans-version of "Bridge over Troubled Water" which is the most 'special' moment in this new show, not only for me but for many other people to, other cast- & crew members and fans as well.

I 'hear' you thinking: "why?" The 30th of July a very dear friend of mine passed away and on his funeral this song was played. That friend of mine has worked for JEANS since 1997... so almost all of JEANS-related people know (of) him, worked with him and loved him, maybe even more than I did and still do. This season, in every show, Nigel sings that song ... which most of the times makes me cry, of course. But still... the most beautiful part of this seasons show for me!

Quiet... because we all miss that friend... Quiet... in prayers and talks to remember him ... Quiet... listening, feeling Nigel's (& mine) love for that special friend, none of us will ever forget. Quiet... in gratitude for having known... and love him. Wishing you many of those special 'quiet'-moments to remember and cherish the good things and people in your life! ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫


Monday, 26 October 2015

P is for Pumpkin.

Pumpkins are definitely new to us here in North Yorkshire. As a child I remember spending hours cutting through my turnip/swede ready for a candle so I could go trick or treating. Pupkins are certainly easier to deal with and very decorative unlike the humble turnip.

A question for you - How to make a Pumpkin Pie? You see I am making one for the first time for the Pumpkin Festival on Saturday and haven't got a clue. Many reading this will have vast experience and many ideas so please shout up!

Denise ABC Team

Sunday, 18 October 2015

O stands for Odd Odes,




A great favourite of mine,  entertainer,  actor and writer..  Cyril Fletcher 1913-2005.

 Amongst his many talents he was famed for his writing and performing his... 'ODD ODES' on Sunday evenings, in a popular TV show called 'That's Life' which  was presented by Ester Rantzen.  Ester was the person who created 'Child Line', a phone line set up for abused children.

 Ester is now titled, Dame Ester Rantzen, a much earned reward from the Queen for all her hard work in setting up the child - line..

 An ODD ODE by Cyril Fletcher.

 The Mermaid.

 On Brighton beach some time ago

 A boatman by the name of Joe

 Looked up and in amazement saw

 A mermaid washed up on the shore.

 His eyes bulged as without delay

 She rose, and shaking off some spray

 Proceeded to remove her tail,

 And put same in a pail;

 Joe was astounded, rubbed his eyes

, The mermaid then said to his surprise

 Said in a foreign voice

 "Ah oui! Monsieur,

 I do not like ze sea!"

 From where before the tail had been,

A pair of shapely legs were seen,

And Joe said "cripes this is a case" 

And could not look her in the face.


She said to Joe "Let's get away"!

I'm sick of seeing waves and spray 

Like jelly wobbling up and down,

Monsieur, Let's go and see the town?"

 Joe's blushes matched his ginger hair 

For mermaids have no clothes to wear!

He muttered " I shall get it strong

If Watch Committee come along".

Quite a few people stopped to smirk

A newsboy shouted out, "nice work". 

  Some more collected - quite a jam 

Watched them  about to board a tram.

The tram conductor watched them come,

Then said to Joe "Oi, nark it chum!"   

Joe said to him, quiet as can be,

"She's just a mermaid from the sea"!  

 The tram - -man said "Oh yes old bean

And what are you - the fairy queen ?" 

A policeman quickly hove into view ,

Took out his book, (or truncheon even)  said, "What's to do?"

The mermaid glanced and said "I guess

 I love your  Engleesch  policemen - yes!" 

 Sad to relate this copper brave

Fell for her charms, became her slave

 And leaving poor Joe in the lurch

 Married the cop in Brighton Church

 All she left Joe was the pail

 Containing her discarded tail

  Joe sore at being  left so flat

Gave it to the lodgers cat. 

My thanks to the  OUTSTANDINGLY lovely Denise for devising ABCW and also to OUR Roger who's most respected OPINIONS are held in the highest  OFFICE...

 Last but not least the team of helpers who each week, visit many of the ABCW sites to help keep us all together ...

Best wishes,


ABCW team...aka one of the little helpers xx  


Monday, 12 October 2015

N for Nice

Hello and good morning, -afternoon, -evening, dear people who participate is this wonderful photomeme, which is a joy to me, week after week, after week. Always curious to what everyone of you comes up with ;-) This week's challenging letter is N and the word I've chosen is NICE.
Not simply a word of four letters! A word with lots of meanings if I may say so! Thinking about it.... different memories spring to mind... I am grateful for the countless "NICE" things in my life. I think we all know far to well how important it is to be aware of the "NICE" things that surround us every day again because life can be very difficult, almost impossible to live at some points. We all know hurt of one or other way... things that are precious to us that we lose. People who we love dearly, we had and have, to let go.. Life comes to all of us as it is... we have to unwrap that 'present' and we are obligated to ourselves to make the best of it.

No matter how hard and difficult, or seemingly impossible, it is. "NICE" ... like I said earlier, not just a word of 4 letters. This word can be replaced by many other, a word that fits you personally...the meaning behind it is obvious. The struggles of life can be saddening but also rewarding if you can look back at them after some time has passed. Although I always wish for nobody to feel pain, nor get hurt in any way I am intelligent enough to know that everyone of us will meet bad things in his/her life but for all of you i wish that your life me be a constant blessing! And if its not, then I wish you the strength to deal with whatever comes on your path!

Just remember... you are a beautiful human being who is loved by many people, and lets be honest, "love" is the nicest gift one ever can receive!

♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫

Monday, 5 October 2015

M is for Melody

Hello and good morning, -afternoon, -evening, dear people who participate is this wonderful photomeme, which is a joy to me, week after week, after week. Always curious to what everyone of you comes up with ;-)

This week's challenging letter is M.

Today I want to tell you about where M stands for with me. First of all, my (nick-)name of course, Being Melody. This name was given to me by a dear fellow musician who sadly enough, passed away many years ago already, but who I think of almost every day. 

Melody... not only a name but a musical term also. In the past I sang, I danced and I've made music and I loved it! Performing was my greatest passion, My health no longer allows that for many years now but visiting shows, watching, hearing and feeling it in every bone in my body makes me feel free and happy, truly free and happy.  I love it very much when i see someone performing with every inch of his body, putting his soul into every second of that performance. 

After some very, very difficult years I crawled up, took back the control over my life in my hands again and literally made the choice to embrace life and live it to the max. A couple of days after I made that decision I went to a tattoo shop in my hometown and got me this tattoo. I do not like tattoos with names  or other text  but this text says it all, to me. The two letters included are the first letters of the names of my two children, they are my most loved and precious 'possessions'.  

So to all of you...... Carpe Diem in the most beautiful way possible for each and everyone of you! 

♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ 

Monday, 28 September 2015

L is for love songs of the 1960s

I have this book called Across the Charts: The 1960s, which indicates all the songs that hit the various US Billboard Hot 100 Singles (listed as pop), R&B Singles, Adult Contemporary (AC) and Country Singles.

What I have listed here is a roster of songs, which links to each of them, that 1) I was familiar with, 2) made it on more than one chart between 1960 and 1969, and 3) start with the word "love", or a variation on it. I didn't find any country crossovers. And I cheated on one item, a song that Bubbled Under the Hot 100. These are in alphabetical order by title:

L-O-V-E - Nat King Cole. #17 AC, #81 pop, 1964
My late mother's favorite singer, Nat would pass away less than six months after this song was released, from lung cancer.

Love Is A Doggone Good Thing - Eddie Floyd. #30 R&B, #97 pop, 1967
A song on that OTHER great soul label of the era, STAX.

Love Is Blue - Paul Mauriat. #1 for 11 weeks AC, #1 for 5 weeks pop, 1968
One of the biggest instrumental hits, ever.

Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart - Supremes. #7 R&B, #9 pop, 1966
This is the LOWEST-charting pop single by the Supremes between mid-1964 to the end of 1967.

Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things) - Martha & The Vandellas. #22 R&B, #70 pop, 1966
Another great Motown female singing group.

Love's Gone Bad - Chris Clark. #41 R&B, #105 pop, 1966
She was one of the relatively few white artists on the Motown label.

A Lover's Concerto - the Toys. #2 for 3 weeks, 4 R&B, 1965
This tune was based on the Minuet in G major. Until 1970 it was attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, but it is now universally attributed to Christian Petzold.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Kensington Palace

When my friend Cathy and I ended up in London in 2012, we decided to take a day and spend it at Kensington Palace and its gardens.  Early in the morning, we caught one of the underground trains to emerge onto Kensington High Street.  After a 5-minute stroll, we arrived at the entrance to the palace and were extremely impressed with the gates.  There were still flowers and photos and other homages to Princess Diana that I found a bit excessive since she’s been gone so long already.
Wandering around to the side, we found the entrance where we duly purchased our ticket and began to explore.  We wandered through the various rooms, admiring the furnishings, chandeliers, and art. 
In one room, we noticed a young man and woman in period costume seated at a table as they played cards.  I drifted over to enquire as to what they were doing.  Staying in character, they whispered that they were discussing all the gossip of the court.  They then asked if I had any juicy bits I could add to their knowledge.   Getting into the spirit of things, I quickly sat down, leaned forward conspiratorially, and began my story.  I whispered to them that I was actually the great granddaughter of a Scottish Lord, but that unfortunately, my grandfather had been born “on the wrong side of the blanket.”  Well, of course, they were very impressed and gave me a card saying that I would be admitted to the King’s Court since I had royal blood!  It was all in great fun!
The special event in 2012 was a display of Queen Victoria’s private belongings.  One entire section at the bottom of a spiral staircase exhibited all the things she would take whenever she left to go and stay elsewhere.  It was quite a collection!
After a lovely “tea” in the restaurant, Cathy and I explored the kaleidoscopic gardens outside and passed the statue of Queen Victoria on our way to the little lake.  I took lots of photos both inside and out and at the end, we both admitted it'd been a very remarkable day.

Tourists are not allowed to go down into the gardens - there are stone and brick walls around them and locked gates here and there for the gardeners.  But the view is actually much better from above and it took us ages to see everything. 

Finally, here's one knackered but still kooky Kanadian tourist squinting in the glare beside the myriads of brilliant daisies.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

J..... my greatest joy in music

Mrs. Nesbitts' ABC-Wednesday ~ 17-J


Yesss, my turn again! Yeeeejjjjjjjj!! The letter J is on turn, one of my favorites! This entry will be about my greatest passion, music, and specifically JEANS (of course!!) I think that most of you don't know what Jeans is.. at least the non-Dutch of you. JEANS started in 1983 by Dick van den Ende, who passed away February 23 of 2014.

At the beginning he had an idea! Musical & musical-like theater shows became quite popular in The Netherlands and every producer of something like that was looking for young talented people. At those time there were not too many schools for that kind of 'job'. Nowadays that's a whole different story. He searched for a group of young talented people and created a first show and JEANS was born. Since then the cast members change very often, every season new talents arise. Some stay only one season, others stay longer for more seasons before they go ahead on another path in the music business.

Ever since show 7 I am, as they say, 'hooked, line and sinker'. Every summer I spent my time searching for info about the newbies and the dates of the shows throughout the whole country and reserve, of course, many tickets for different theaters to visit them over the autumn and winter months. Every show contains aproximately 50-70 songs wich everybody knows, so the public can sing along during a show. I always see public in very different ages; JEANS is for the young but also the 'old'. Every show is totaly different from the previous one. Full of singing, dancing and in many other ways performing. I totally adore the format as some cast members I have became friends with.

Next season is show 28th in year 25 because the first 3 shows were performed over 6 years. Comming season will start with the first show of the regular version on september 25th. I can't wait, you might have guessed that already. Monday, September 28th, there will be one jubilee show in which will many old Jeans-members re-appear. I can't wait for that either ;-) I can be a very patient person but when it comes to Jeans i am totally the way around, impatient to the max, from one show to the next.

During one season I visited the show probably 15 times . The first and the last one I never skip!! Always in tears turning home, sad that it's over and thankful for the season i have enjoyed so much! If you want to listen to some of their music just go to youtube and type in: Jeans theater shows.... and then you will get lots of video's from different shows. Have a blast of fun with it and of course with this week's challenge for the letter J at Mrs. Nesbitt's ABC-Wednesday

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

H is for Help!

Being an avid Beatles Fan I have many favourite songs, albums too - Help being one of my top choices.

Robert Freeman designed many of The Beatles album covers including "Help."
The photo was taken in the Twickenham Film Studio near London, where the Beatles were finishing the last scenes from their second movie Help!. Freeman had the idea of semaphore spelling out the letters HELP, with every Beatle another letter. He got the inspiration from a scene he witnessed shooting in the Austrian Alps, with the Beatles, all dressed in black, fooling around in the snow. They were waving their arms in the air, while the music played. Freeman took publicity pictures while these scenes were shot in mid march 1965 in Obertauern.

Publicity pictures like this inspired the Help! album cover

In the studio a specially constructed platform was erected, with a white painted background. The four young men wore the black hats, coats and capes from the film wardrobe. "But when we came to do the shot the arrangement of the arms with those letters didn't look good," remembers Freeman, "So we decided to improvise and ended up with the best graphic positioning of the arms."

Ringo poses for the album cover while Victor Spinetti looks at him.

Within half an hour the pictures were taken.
Afterward, Freeman reversed some of the images, to get a more satisfying composition. For proof of this: look at John, George and Ringo’s jackets: they have the buttons on the wrong side.

John, George and Ringo reversed back again

Different poses for John and Ringo - session outtakes
The Beatles actually spell out "NUJV"
This is how "HELP" would have looked like with real semaphore.
In Holland, another version of the Help! sleeve was manufactured, with a giant Shell logo in the background. Most of the vinyl and all of the sleeves that make up this legendary item were manufactured in Holland but a few copies of the vinyl were also pressed in Sweden. This LP with its alternate picture sleeve was only ever issued to Shell employees and was never available to purchase in the shops.

The famous Dutch / Swedish Shell Help! LP cover, 1979.

During the years, there has been some discussion whether or not the Beatles' hand positions spell anything. It didn’t help that, in the US, the photos on the front cover were rearranged, from George-John-Paul-Ringo to George-Ringo-John-Paul (so that Paul appeared to be pointing to the Capitol logo?). And the image of George is reversed again. By all accounts, the semaphore remains gibberish: the various semaphore messages and their interpretations which have been ascribed to the HELP! cover, over the years are unfounded. The intention behind the arm positions was good "graphic positioning", not good semaphore.

USA Help! album

To accommodate lettering advertising the songs, the pictures of the Beatles were shrunk on the cover of the Capitol version of Help!.

There are no sleeve notes , but like on the back cover of A Hard Day’s Night, there are again four head shots taken by Freeman.

Help! back cover - Robert Freeman
What is your favourite Beatles song?