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Celebrating those who empathise with the past….

A recurrent theme on the Rust is the difficulty we oldies have in dealing with the present world of internet, diversity and political correctness. The Leave campaign in the referendum maximised this with the slogan “Take back control” which promotes the restoration of British values of yore. Conversely there are those not of our generation who have an intuitive empathy with a past world they did not inhabit.

Here we ask four of our correspondents in their field to celebrate them.

Miles Piper



Jake Arnott has written a series of crime fiction based around the London crime world of the sixties.

The central figure modeled on Ronnie Kray is Harry Starks, but actual figures like Bob Boothby and Judy Garland do appear too.

Last Saturday evening in The Archive Hour on Radio 4 he chronicled police corruption in the sixties which made for fascinating listening.

As a youth I remember talking to a copper who called to a burglary by a distraught woman, a close friend of our next door neighbours, never left and they became an item.

He said the corrupt officer George Chalinor, featured in the programme  and investigated but never indicted ed for wholesale corruption, was not unique.

Senior officer like Wallace Virgo were raking in £100,000 annually from criminals. It was Commissioner Robert Mark who cleaned up the Met.

Jake Arnott has an instinctive feel for these times though they place well before his birth.

Melanie Gay



John Wilson and his Orchestra have done so much to present the American songbook to a younger audience. He is still in his thirties. He brings in vocalists like Sir Thomas Allen who are operatic singers of repute as well as other singers.

His work is meticulous, he can pore over four bars of a song all day. He demands his vocalists replicate the original singers with clear diction.

Over the weekend I watched with huge pleasure the DVD of his concert dedicated to the MGM musicals of the 1950s.

MGM was a conveyor belt of musicals like Singing in the Rain, Brigadoon, Easter Parade and Gigi, stars like Gene Kelly, Judy Garland and Leslie Caron, songwriters like the Gershwins and composers and arrangers like Andre Previn.

All this John Wilson recreates which is a remarkable for a Geordie born some 50 years after this golden age.

Michael Stuart



If you listen to most modern analysts you might think football was invented at the time of SKY and the Premiership.

Tim Vickery has massive knowledge not just of South American football but the football world of the sixties. Last Saturday in the early hours he initiated a fascinating discussion with the equally well-informed Mark Gleeson on Albert Johanneson, a superb left winger in the early Don Revie Leeds side of the sixties.

Very pacy he was considered the equal of, say, Peter Thompson of Liverpool. Subjected to the appalling chanting of the N word at him at Goodson Park Everton, he was subbed and lost his confidence and disappeared apparently with drink problems too.

Vickery asked if he was heralded by South Africa, Gleeson gave an informed replay that he was classified as Cape Coloured like Basil d’Oliveira, a minority group, so he was not.

Younger football fans have probably have never heard of Johanneson and it’s left to analysts like Vickery to maintain his memory.

Rex Mitchell



Ian Nathan appears on SKY Arts as film commentator normally on the Discovering Film programme.

Despite his comparative youth, he must be in this late 30s or early 40s, he totally understands the qualities, importance and legacy of the legendary film stars which he delivers with enthusiasm and knowledge.

He is alongside senior film critics Derek Malcolm and Neil Norman but can match their capacity in the film buff stakes.

Neil Rosen