THE EAGLES HAVE LANDED!

Here is a sentence I never expected to write.  Last weekend my husband and I saw The Eagles perform live in Savannah.   When we first visited Savannah in 2003 and then not long afterwards decided to make Coastal Georgia our home, it never occurred to us that this small, charming historic city would someday attract world class acts like The Eagles.  Of course, this was before Coastal Georgia’s dramatic growth, and long before the new Enmarket Arena arrived on the scene.  It was simply fantastic to join 9,500 other music fans who came to see The Eagles play.  This wonderful evening was proof to me that the exciting three dimensional world is returning in all its noisy glory! There seems to be a pent up demand to enjoy live concerts, theatre, movies, festivals, gala events and worship.

Seeing The Eagles has long been on my husband’s bucket list, so we splurged on 4th row seats for last Saturday night’s concert as a joint Christmas gift.  It was worth every penny and more.  As Don Henley said to the audience, their goal was to provide a three hour vacation from all the stress, hassle, and angst in the world, and boy did they deliver. The set opened with Hotel California, and they played every song in that album.  After the break, they played all their other hits and, as Joe Walsh said, “Wow, we’ve been everywhere, but tonight is the first time we’ve been to Savannah!”

The Eagles began in 1971, when Texan Don Henley and Glenn Frey from Michigan were independently hired to perform as part of Linda Ronstadt’s band. Frey and Henley became friends and formed The Eagles, becoming the driving artistic forces in the band.  After some changes in the early years, key members of The Eagles’ line-up consisted of Henley, Frey, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit.

I was a bit young for the Eagles’ heyday but older friends and relatives introduced me to their music in my teens in the 80s.  My husband, as a teenager in the US Midwest in the 1970s, loved their music with a passion but had never seen them perform live until last Saturday night as they kicked off their Hotel California North America tour here in Savannah.  In spite of the fact that Henley, Walsh and Schmit are all in their mid-70s they were in fine form.  Joe Walsh did comment to the audience that he “had more fun in his 20s in the 70s than in his 70s in the 20s” but his energy was impressive.  Of course, Glenn Frey died in 2016 but Schmit, a cancer survivor, still hit all the right notes and Don Henley’s voice did not seem to have aged at all. 

The Eagles were era-defining as their particular brand of country rock was very distinct from the disco sounds, heavy metal and glam rock of many other bands of the 1970s.  Against a backdrop including the likes of David Bowie, Deep Purple and Kiss, they became known as that great band that just walked onto stage in their blue jeans and began to play.  After the height of fame following the release of their masterpiece Hotel California album they disbanded in 1980, as punk and new wave music was becoming more popular.  After the band’s breakup, Don Henley was asked when the Eagles would play together again, and he replied “when hell freezes over”.  So, with a bit of self-deprecating humor in 1994, The Eagles reunited and released their album Hell Freezes Over.  The band toured pretty consistently until Glenn Frey died in 2016, but The Eagles re-formed in 2017, with Glenn’s son Deacon Frey and Vince Gill sharing lead vocals for Frey’s songs.

The Eagles are one of the best-selling bands in history, having sold more than 200 million records, including 100 million in US alone. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and were ranked number 75 on Rolling Stone‘s 2004 list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.  In the USA, the band had five number-one singles and six number-one albums, six Grammy Awards and five American Music Awards.   There is a lot more information at www.eagles.com

The Eagles were not quite as popular in the UK with only one top ten hit, Hotel California.  Joe Walsh is also not as well known in the land of my birth, but my husband was thrilled when as an unexpected bonus Walsh played some of his solo hits including scorching versions of ‘Funk #49’ and ‘Rocky Mountain Way’.  As for me, I was equally excited when Don Henley played one of his own solo hits ‘Boys of Summer’. I very distinctly remember motoring around London in my little Honda in 1984 listening to this fantastic song on the radio as it hit the UK charts.  And now, live in Savannah in 2022, it was even better.

I leave you this week with a poignant quote from the legendary Eagles front man Glenn Frey. “People don’t run out of dreams – people just run out of time.”

God Bless America!

– ENDS –

Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com  or via her PR and marketing agency at www.lesleyfrancispr.com

 

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE NUMBER 300

This week’s column is about an unusual subject – the number 300.  Please humor me as I explore this interesting number.

Why is 300 special?  Well, it has several interesting aspects.  Mathematically, it is the sum of two prime numbers (149 + 151), and it is also the sum of ten consecutive prime numbers (13 + 17 + 19 + 23 + 29 + 31 + 37 + 41 + 43 + 47).  

In history, according to the ancient Greek writer and historian Herodotus, 300 Spartans resisted one million Persian invaders during the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC), which became the subject of the Warner Brothers historical action movie ‘300’.  Moving on another few centuries, in the Bible the number 300 is used many times, including in God’s instruction to Noah to build his ark three hundred cubits long (about 450 feet).

In modern day terms, it represents a perfect score in bowling, and it is also the lowest credit rating one can get on several systems of credit scoring. The 100 yard long playing area on an American football field is, unsurprisingly, exactly 300 feet long.  My husband occasionally tortures our dogs and I with old blues music, and he tells me in 1963 Howlin’ Wolf released the hit song “300 Pounds of Joy”, which was later recorded by others including Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi as The Blues Brothers.

Onto the mythological.  According to various websites on tarot cards, astrology, and numerology, 300 is also an angel number. “The number 300 urges us not to let a lack of clarity hold us back. No one knows what the future holds, focus on what will bring you happiness and fulfillment in the here and now”, according to numerologysign.com. Others say the number is urging you to trust your intuition, love those around you, and a lot of other encouraging advice.  Perhaps my favorite is from sunsigns.org – “Angel number 300 is a cue from the divine forces that you have to respect the people who were behind your success and be grateful. In other words, having good people will make your life better and great.” Is that stating the obvious or is it just me that thinks so?

If you are still reading, it leads to me answering the question which is now no doubt firmly on your mind – why in the world is the English Rose in Georgia rambling on about the number 300? Well, you are reading the answer.

Unbelievably, this is my 300th column for the Bryan County News! Well, they do say that time flies when you are having fun.

My first column appeared in October 2010, when the then-publisher of this newspaper asked me to share some of my perceptions as a newly arrived transplant from London, England to Richmond Hill, Georgia.   He knew I loved living here on the doorstep of beautiful, historic Savannah, and he had heard me speak at our Rotary Club about some of the quirks and funny differences in our cultures and ways of life. So was born “An English Rose in Georgia”, which has appeared every two weeks, 300 times, like clockwork.  I thought it would be fun to do for a few months, but here we are over eleven years later.  I am proud of having never missed a deadline, and I do my best to write about something new (and hopefully interesting) every time.

The topics of these columns have been about as wide-ranging as it is possible to be.  Famous people, historical events, geography, travel, popular culture, work, animals, random interesting facts that catch my attention and, of course, some of the amusing differences between the USA and jolly Ol’ England.  One of my early columns was even written in the voice of our British Labrador Retriever, who enjoyed his golden years here in Coastal Georgia.  I found it amusing that after emigrating to the US, our three British dogs woke us up at 3am for a while demanding breakfast – they were suffering from jet lag!

I really appreciate the response I get from my readers.  I have received a lot of emails over the years, almost all positive, and it never fails to surprise and slightly embarrass me when people stop me in the post office or grocery store and are kind enough to say they read and enjoy my column.  I also get some great suggestions for future columns from my readers, so please keep them coming.  Email me at lesley@lesleyfrancisPR.com .

I would like to give a huge thanks to this newspaper for allowing me to connect with the community I love in this very unique way.  And, to you for reading them!  Whether you read my column regularly, or occasionally, or even if this is your very first one, you have my heartfelt appreciation, and I am deeply honored by your support. Thank you.

So, since this column is focused on a number, I thought I would say goodbye this week with a math quote from that famous and fabulously funny American columnist Erma Bombeck:  “As a graduate of the Zsa Zsa Gabor School of Creative Mathematics, I honestly do not know how old I am.”

God Bless America!

– ENDS –

Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com  or via her PR and marketing agency at www.lesleyfrancispr.com

ANOTHER GROUNDHOG DAY

ANOTHER GROUNDHOG DAY

Here we are already one-twelfth of the way through 2022 and according to Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous groundhog, we can all look forward to another six weeks of winter. If only we could say the same for the shadow of COVID-19, which shows no sign of ending any time soon. 

In spite of that, there has been much to celebrate at LFPR, including the wedding of our senior account executive, Allie Robinson – who does not have to go through the hassle of changing her name as she married Austin Robinson (no relation, of course). It was a beautiful occasion and team LFPR were lucky enough to be there on her big day. We are looking forward to our senior account manager’s wedding date in April as Kristyn Fielding will become Kristyn Beasley.  

We welcomed a new website developer, Shelby McKee, to our team, and she is doing a great job. We are also enjoying having our new spring intern, Emily Vonck, working with us part-time as she completes her studies at Georgia Southern University. Looking back to the holiday season, LFPR was proud to support the Salvation Army by volunteering to ring the iconic red kettle bell to help raise vital funds for the organization’s annual fundraiser that supports local families and individuals in need. Team LFPR was also a media sponsor for nonprofit organization Combat Boots to the Boardroom’s second annual gala just before Thanksgiving. We also worked with our client, Beyond The Bell, for the grand opening and ribbon-cutting of their new Macon location.

Our clients are forging ahead with plans for 2022 and we are partnering with them to raise awareness for some exciting initiatives. Savannah African Art Museum is celebrating Black Heritage Month with a series of workshops and a brand new exhibit which explores the importance of cowrie shells in African culture. LFPR has worked with the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire for eight years, and we are delighted that President Mark Dana has agreed to become the nonprofit organization’s first full time president and CEO. Look out for media coverage about the Valor Awards on Feb. 10. Looking forward, Historic Savannah Foundation is planning for the launch of their affordable housing initiative later this month and March’s Women in Preservation Month observance. Georgia Tech-Savannah is planning a full season of OSHA training classes and in-person summer school. 

We have recently been contracted to work with American Veteran Properties here in Richmond Hill (check out their new website built by LFPR at americanveteranproperties.com). Talking of websites, our own website now has a brand new look and feel.  We are also enjoying working again with Bill Eberlein, shark tooth diver and owner of Megateeth! Check out his Instagram account and in-depth features in Connect newspaper and Liberty and Richmond Hill Neighbors magazines.

Until next time, take care and wishing you all health and happiness for 2022.

NO MORE PARADISE BY THE DASHBOARD LIGHT

As we get older, the deaths of celebrities we grew up with unfortunately become more frequent. Last week’s sad news about the passing of singer Marvin Lee Aday, known as the iconic Meat Loaf, was another reminder of the passage of time.

I have always been enthralled by most things American, even years before I met my American husband in London. I clearly recall the first time I heard Meat Loaf’s voice on ‘Radio One’, a very popular British BBC radio station targeting teenagers. What a voice! This larger-than-life singer hit the British charts in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when I was an impressionable teenager. There was a small group of us at my very proper English all-girls high school who confessed to adoring the powerful vocals of this motorcycle riding, long-haired, 250-plus pound bad boy American rock star, but I think more of my classmates secretly agreed!

Born in Dallas to a gospel singing mother and a police officer father in 1947, this future star lost his mom when he was still a teenager. His mother had divorced his alcoholic father some years before and raised her son alone. He acquired the nickname Meat Loaf at a young age, some say because of his hefty size, and others say because of his love for this recipe cooked by his mother. Whatever the reason, the name stuck. He moved to California at the age of twenty to pursue his musical career and was soon fronting the band Meat Loaf Soul. He alternated between music and acting, and in 1970 he moved to New York to appear in Broadway musicals. He made his film debut in 1975 with thememorable role of Eddie in the cult film classic “Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

Two years later he kicked off his musical partnership with lyricist Jim Steinman, and “Bat Out of Hell” hit the world by storm. It became one of the top-selling albums of all time, with worldwide sales of more than 40 million copies, but it had a slow start and mixed reviews. Meat Loaf was so little known at first that he began his “Bat Out of Hell” tour in Chicago as the opening act for Cheap Trick, then one of the world’s hottest groups. Touring and promoting “Bat Out of Hell” took a toll on Meat Loaf’s voice and left him unable to sing for two years, but after months of rehabilitation, he was able to get back in the studio and record his next album “Dead Ringer”.

Meat Loaf’s popularity waned during the 1980s in the USA, but he continued to have major chart successes in Europe and Australia – which is when I first fell in love with his music back in England. In fact,”Dead Ringer for Love”, a duet with Cher, was a top five single in the UKbut barely made the top 50 in the US. When Meat Loaf and Steinman got back together in 1993, they released the powerful “Bat Out Of Hell II” which went to the top of the charts in the US, UK, and 26 other countries. There is lots more information at www.imdb.com

Meat Loaf had suffered many health issues starting back in the 1970s, and over the years he had been very open about his struggles with alcohol abuse and mental health issues. I was living in London and remember the media frenzy when he collapsed on stage during his British tour in 2003 and needed surgery before he could head home to the USA. There has been much speculation recently about if he was suffering from Covid-19 but, in any event, I think we all agree that his death at the age of 74 is a sad loss for millions of fans.

My family and friends have been debating this week about our favorite Meat Loaf songs. Most Americans, including my husband and some colleagues at the office, clearly prefer “Paradise By the Dashboard Light”. While I can see that it is very amusing, and also a small opera crammed into an 8-minute song, I just didn’t “get it” back when it came out. In England, I had never seen baseball or heard the game commentary on radio. I certainly didn’t know what second base was – either in baseball or when used by young people experimenting with romance. Personally, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” is my favorite, closely followed by “You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth”. On the other hand, the radio always gets turned up in our cars when “Bat out of Hell” comes on. It is hard to believe that he has gone.

I will leave you with a quote from the star himself: “Rock n’ Roll came from the slaves singing gospel in the fields. Their lives were hell and they used music to lift out of it, to take them away. That’s what rock n’ roll should do – take you to a better place.”

God Bless America and Rest in Peace, Meat Loaf.

– ENDS –

Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009. She can be contacted at lesley@francis.com or via her PR and marketing agency at www.lesleyfrancispr.com

LESLEY FRANCIS PUBLIC RELATIONS APPOINTS EMILY VONCK AS NEW SPRING INTERN

SAVANNAH, GA – Jan. 25, 2022 – Lesley Francis Public Relations (LFPR) has announced the appointment of their new spring intern, Emily Vonck. At LFPR, the roles of the intern are to support team members through drafting news releases, managing client media coverage, content creation, social media management, and drafting materials for various clients. 

Vonck was born in Kennesaw, Georgia and is in her final semester at Georgia Southern University (GSU). She will graduate with honors in May 2022, earning her Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. She is currently the president of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), works part time at a Statesboro pottery studio, Southern Pottery and Art Studio, and volunteers her spare time at the local soup kitchen. Through her courses at GSU, Vonck has worked with several organizations in the Statesboro area and completed an internship with The Otis Redding Foundation to help further develop her understanding of the public relations industry. 

“I am honored to have this opportunity to work with such a reputable and well-known agency like Lesley Francis PR,” Vonck said. “I am looking forward to working with this talented group of women to develop my skills through their diverse range of clients.” 

LFPR is an award-winning public relations agency established in 2011 in Richmond Hill, GA. 

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Hollie Barnidge at hollie@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-272-8651, Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950, or the team at 912-417-5377.

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2022 WITH OPTIMISM

I have been in public relations and marketing for over 30 years, but I heard two new media terms recently – ‘doom scrolling’ and ‘doom surfing’.  The Merriam Webster dictionary defines these as “a tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing. Many people find themselves reading continuously bad news…. without the ability to stop or step back.”  This is closely related to ‘clickbait’, a more widely used term indicating a dramatic or emotive headline which is not necessarily real news but aims to – you guessed it – encourage the user to click on a link.

But is the world really that bad a place?  As a rational and intelligent adult, business owner, grandparent, and member of the community that I love, I do accept the realities of the problems around us.  Our ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues, worries on the international front from Taiwan to the Ukraine, and an increasing polarization of America are real problems that must be understood, met and dealt with.  

However, I am an optimist and insist on viewing the world in positive terms.  I am also thankfully surrounded by positive people in my family, my friends, and my team at work.  I simply refuse to cave in to the “doom and gloom” merchants and adopt a “woe is me” attitude.  I believe that the world is a wonderful and beautiful place which has substantially more good in it than bad.

I work hard at being realistic while retaining a hopefulness and confidence about the future, seeing the glass as “half full” rather than “half empty”, a phrase that was first reported used by former US President, Ronald Reagan in 1985.  I also like the quote by comedian George Carlin who said “some people see the glass half-full. Others see it half-empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.”  

A friend challenged me recently to name one good thing that came out of 2021.  What did I come up with?  The World Health Organization has approved the first malaria vaccine.  Malaria still kills over 600,000 people each year, over half of them children under five.  It is now likely to soon be a disease of the past like polio and smallpox.  Take that, click-baiters and doom-surfers!

My personal optimism tendencies sometimes lead me to think I can get all my work or chores done with time to spare – sometimes leaving me exhausted, running late and frustrated with myself. My husband calls it my own “personal battle with the space-time continuum”.

In today’s world it is difficult not to be overwhelmed occasionally by depressing and scary news.  I retain my optimistic nature with some simple but effective tools that my more than five decades on earth have proven to work for me:

  • The biggest thing is learning from history and remembering that “this too shall pass”, a great phrase from Corinthians in the Bible, and one of Abraham Lincoln’s favorite sayings.  I majored in history at university, and the perspective of centuries proves that the human race is absolutely resilient in the face of war, pandemics and natural disasters. 
  • Although it is essential for my work that I stay up to date on social media and daily news, I find unplugging from a constant 24/7 news stream and occasionally turning off my smartphone is vital for my mental health.
  • Getting enough rest.  It is tempting to maximize every day to the utmost and just stay at work to get that one more thing done, or staying up a little later at night to just check one more thing off my personal list.  I have learned that sometimes I just need to just call it a day and stop to remember that I am a human ‘being’ not a human ‘doing’!
  • Compartmentalizing problems and not letting them dominate other things I think, say or do.  Instead, I try to assess them, decide on a course of action and then just get on with it.
  • Hugging my loved ones.  The comfort of physical touch from hugs to stroking a pet has been scientifically proven to reduce stress for everyone involved.

I say goodbye this week with a quote from Annette Funicello, the famous American mouseketeer, singer and actress who danced her way into all those beach party movies with Frankie Avalon in the 1950s and 60s.  In 1992, when she was announcing that she was suffering with multiple sclerosis, she didn’t seek pity or sympathy.  Instead, she proclaimed “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful”.  What a great lady, and what great words to live by.

God Bless America, and Happy New Year! 

– ENDS –


Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com  or via her PR and marketing agency at www.lesleyfrancispr.com

HAVE A CRACKING CHRISTMAS

I am proud to call Coastal Georgia my home. I love living close to our family, and this time of year I always look forward to seeing our granddaughters open their gifts early on Christmas morning.  It is a privilege and a joy.  I have also learned to enjoy some very American Christmas tastes and experiences including eggnog, parades, candy canes and traditional American movies, although putting up the Christmas decorations in November (right after Thanksgiving) still seems way too early for me. But as much as I love America, it has now been over two years since I have visited the land of my birth, my longest period ever being away from England.  So this year more than ever, I am thinking about the people and traditions across the pond that I will miss during this festive season.  

I have noticed that it is easier to obtain British Christmas treats here than it was when I first moved to the USA in 2009.   This has been especially important during these challenging times for travel and has enabled us to blend the best of American and British holiday traditions. One essential component of the Christmas season for any Brit is “the Christmas cracker”.  These are colorful paper tubes which contain a silly paper hat, a small gift, and a little slip of paper with a corny joke on it.  When they are opened by two people pulling them apart sort of like two people pulling on a wishbone, they “pop” with a small, cap-gun-like explosion. They must be set out on the fully decorated dining table before we begin our big Christmas day meal, along with the plates, silverware, and turkey or ham.  Anyone not wearing the paper hat or reading their joke to the group out loud is branded as grumpy or ‘not much fun’.  These cone-shaped crackers are simply a ‘must-have’ for British people to make any Christmas complete.   

I must admit that most Americans politely go along with the cracker pulling tradition at our home, but they seem very underwhelmed by the whole thing.  Like many things in life, perhaps you have to grow up with Christmas crackers to really appreciate them! My family have learned to humor me over the years although usually I am the only one still wearing the silly paper crown by the time we get to dessert.  That is when I try to tempt them with another traditional English treat – the Christmas pudding, sort of a hot fruit cake with warm creamy sauce poured over it.  Truly an acquired taste, that is one for another column!

So what is the history of the Christmas cracker?  London based pastry and confectionery maker Tom Smith invented them during the reign of Queen Victoria in 1847.  This British baker was inspired by a visit to France and began making traditional French bon-bon sweets for sale back in London.  Even though he wrapped the sugared almonds in paper and displayed them attractively, they did not sell well.  One evening as he sat listening to the snaps and pops of his fireplace, he had the big idea – what if he could make the treats crackle and pop like the fire when opened? He launched his range, originally called “Bangs of Expectation”, with his bon-bon candies and a love message inside the wrappers.  He had to make the wrapper bigger to include the banger mechanism.  When his sons took over the business, they added paper crown-like hats, possibly inspired by ‘Epiphany’ or ‘three king cakes’ from Europe which are decorated with these paper crowns. Over time because the edible treats in crackers often dropped to the floor when they were pulled apart, little trinkets replaced the candy.  By the 1930s, the love messages were replaced by jokes or riddles, and it is a British tradition that they need to be not very funny and are often well known to the group as the same jokes have been appearing in crackers for many years. “What did Adam say on the day before Christmas? It’s Christmas, Eve!” and “What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?  Frostbite!” and “Who is Santa’s favorite singer? Elf-is Presley”.  You get the idea. There is more information at www.historic-uk.com  

I say goodbye this week with a quote from Bob Hope, who was British born but turned American and became one of the world’s leading entertainers of the 20th century.My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” 

God Bless America and wishing everybody, as we say in the UK, a very ‘Happy Christmas’!

– ENDS –

Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com  or via her PR and marketing agency at www.lesleyfrancispr.com

LESLEY FRANCIS PUBLIC RELATIONS APPOINTS NEW WEBSITE DEVELOPER, SHELBY McKEE

LESLEY FRANCIS PUBLIC RELATIONS APPOINTS NEW WEBSITE DEVELOPER, SHELBY McKEE

RICHMOND HILL, GA. – December 8, 2021 – Lesley Francis Public Relations (LFPR) has announced the appointment of a new website developer, Shelby McKee. In her new role, McKee will design, create, modify, and maintain client websites and keep them current with user-friendly technology. She’ll also develop test routines and schedules to ensure consistent website displays across all device types, perform routine website audits to identify and resolve issues, integrate websites with other computer applications, and monitor new website developments and trends.

McKee recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and received a certificate of graphic design and digital imaging. She is a certified UI and digital designer with over two years of experience building products and brands with user-centered design. Her multidisciplinary education highlighted her passion for user-centered design and provided her with experience in many different fields within IT and design. As a certified designer, she is passionate about creating user experiences that are inclusive, delightful, and frustration-free.

“I am so pleased to bring my passion for creating positive digital experiences to Lesley Francis Public Relations and their clients,” McKee said. “My skills, training, and experience give me the knowledge to develop website that will generate positive experiences for website users and are sure to please LFPR’s clients. I want to ensure that our clients are able to be a part of the brand-building process and can utilize their platforms effectively.”

Lesley Francis Public Relations (LFPR) is an award-winning public relations agency established in 2011 in Richmond Hill, GA.

– ENDS –

For media inquiries, please contact Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950, Allie Robinson at allie@lesleyfrancispr.com, or 912-547-3100 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).

NAVIGATION SITUATION

Like most people, I have my strengths and weaknesses.  Regrettably, a good sense of direction is not something I am blessed with.  I was reminded of this the other day when my voice activated GPS refused to understand my English accent, so I had to park the car and enter the address I wanted manually.   I could write an entire column on my own personal challenges with standardized American Voice Recognition Technology here in the US.  I have actually had to resort to handing the phone to my husband or another nearby American accent to get an automated telephone operator to understand what I want!  Now that I think about it, sometimes I have a similar situation at say a fast food drive up window where a human Georgian is having similar troubles understanding me.

Anyway, back to my poor sense of direction. As I was born in the late 1960s, I am very much of the generation that was taught and then relied heavily on map reading as a skill. I remember in the early days of my career asking for directions to be faxed to me so I could carefully follow them when heading to a meeting or conference.  In fact, I had a glove box stuffed full of these faxes as handy reference material on how to get to my client’s offices.  I also had a substantial size collection of maps, especially the famous ‘London A to Z’ (pronounced ‘zed’ not ‘zee’) which showed every one of the thousands of tiny streets and alleys across London, my then- home city of almost 10 million people! 

Of course, the invention and utilization of the Global Positioning System (GPS) has changed the world completely.  Did you know that the Global Positioning System was invented by the U.S. Department of Defense (D.O.D) and the brilliant physicist and electronics engineer Ivan Getting?  Getting was the NYC-born son of Slovak immigrant parents who showed a real talent for science and engineering at an early age.  While serving as the vice president of research and engineering at the Raytheon Corporation during the 1950s, he advanced the concept of using an advanced system of satellites to allow the calculation of exquisitely precise positioning data for rapidly moving vehicles, ranging from cars to missiles. 

Originally called Navstar, today the GPS is a satellite-based system owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Space Force. It provides geolocation and time information to GPS receivers anywhere on Earth provided that the receiver has an unobstructed line of sight to at least four of its satellites. The GPS does not require the receiving device to transmit any data, and it operates independently of the internet. 

Although the United States government maintains and controls the system, it is currently freely available to anyone with a GPS receiver.  However, the US government has at times only provided what they call “selective availability”, such as during a war when they have denied access to one or the other sides.  This has led to other countries developing their own similar technologies, and today Russian has their Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), China has it’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, India has NavIC, Japan has QZSS, and the European Union has Galileo.

Back in the UK and Europe, we usually refer in general terms to our Galileo system as ‘satellite navigation’ or simply ‘SAT-NAV’.  This system is under civilian control, and since Brexit the UK’s participation in the program has become far too complicated to cover in this modest column.

So today every smart phone and modern car comes equipped with the amazing function of a voice directing you to your destination of choice.  But is our reliance on this technology (and others) contributing to the dumbing down of society? Have we been lulled into a false sense of security by the reassuring voice of our GPS telling us when to turn right or left, without enough consideration of what is actually around us?  An online search shows funny and tragic real life examples of how people depended so thoroughly on this technology that observation and common sense get thrown out of the window.  A funny one example involves a busload of schoolkids in the UK who wanted to visit Buckingham Palace for the day, but satnav was asked to take them to Buckingham Place, which was a tiny apartment building in a bad neighborhood! The more tragic tales generally involve drivers paying more attention to their GPS than the real road conditions around them and driving into other traffic, or off the end of closed bridges, and the like.  Rangers at Death Valley National Park in California see problems resulting from a lack of awareness of real-world conditions so often that they have a name for it: “Death by GPS”. 

There is a lot more information from the Smithsonian Institute at www.timeandnavigation.si.edu and also at www.bbc.co.uk

I say goodbye this week with a quote from Swedish author Fredrik Backman, which for some reason amuses my husband!  “Your grandma always had a terrible sense of direction. She could get lost on an escalator.”

God Bless America!

– ENDS –

Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com  or via her PR and marketing agency at www.lesleyfrancispr.com

I’VE BEEN WAITING SO LONG…. FOR FOREIGNER!

Slowly we seem to be getting back to a type of normality – even though it involves booster vaccines, masks, and lots of public debate about both.  However, more excitingly, I have rock-and-roll news.  A lot of big-name bands are currently avoiding international tours and huge venues for understandable reasons, so that perhaps makes cities like Savannah more attractive to concert promoters right now than before the pandemic.  So last week, my husband and I decided to dance our way to the Johnny Mercer Civic Center to see Foreigner on the Savannah leg of their US tour.

 

It was thrilling to be back at a live concert again! We were rocking out to Cold As Ice and Juke Box Hero and mellowing out to Waiting For A Girl Like You and I Want To Know What Love is. I adore 1980s music, especially classic rock, and I admit to being fairly obsessed by this narrow genre of music.

Uncharacteristically, I will dance and sing along, knowing almost all the lyrics to the top ten hits of this era. I love this small slice of musical history, and my family know not to challenge me on facts and trivia about 1980s classic rock bands and hits. This is provided of course that the band was big in the UK which some huge American bands weren’t.

Foreigner definitely rings my rock-and-roll bell as they dominated the UK and US charts from the late seventies to the mid-eighties.  Foreigner is, in my humble opinion, a great example of the best of British and American talent combined. They were formed in New York City and London in 1976 by six veteran musicians from Spooky Tooth, King Crimson, and Flash, among others.  English musicians Mick Jones, Dennis Elliot and Ian McDonald joined up with American vocalist Lou Gramm and musicians Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi.  They originally called themselves “Trigger” but on discovering that this name was already taken, Jones came up with the name of “Foreigner” because no matter whether they were in the US or the UK, three of them would always be foreigners.

Their first album ‘Foreigner’ was released in 1977, followed by ‘Double Vision’ (1978), ‘Head Games’ (1979), and ‘Foreigner 4’ (1981).  All four of these achieved “5X Platinum” status, and the band went on to sell over 80 million records worldwide, with nine top ten hits and sixteen top thirty hits in the USA – the same as Fleetwood Mac and more than Journey.  ‘Foreigner 4’ was their most successful and is widely regarded as one of rock’s all-time greatest.

Despite the thirty or so songs that almost everyone of my generation knows by heart on both sides of the Atlantic, “I Want To Know What Love Is” was Foreigner’s only number one smash hit on the Billboard charts in January 1985. From the band’s fifth album “Agent Provocateur”, the song is a classic melody with wonderful guitar and keyboard playing, and also on the soundtrack of the movie “Mr. Wrong”.

After a string of massive hits, the band started to drift apart in 1985, a few months after the release of ‘Agent Provocateur’.  Mick Jones reformed the band in 1990, and they released a new album.  Soon after, Lou Gramm came back and rejoined the group on lead vocals. Despite some ups and downs and some health issues, the band stayed together until 2002 when it broke up once again.

In 2005, the tenacious Mick Jones put it back together yet again and is currently, at the age of 76, the only original member.  This occasionally leads to accusations by some that Foreigner today is more like a tribute band than the “real thing”.  However, I can personally report that Kelly Hansen who has been lead vocalist since 2005, was in fine voice last week. Anyone at the Civic Center would have been hard pressed to tell any difference to the original line up.

There is a lot more information at the band’s official website www.foreigneronline.com

I say goodbye this week with a quote from Mick Jones himself, who in my book is THE Juke Box Hero –

“My initial musical vision for Foreigner was to combine Blues and R&B with British Rock and make it sound soulful and authentic. I’d grown up in England and had the English influence but I was also inspired by many elements of American music, from Mississippi Blues to Country and Western. Foreigner was the vehicle to get that musical blend across.”

Well done, Mick…. you did it!

God Bless America, and 1980s classic rock!

 

 ENDS –

Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or via her PR and marketing agency at https://www.lesleyfrancispr.com/