Sir William Stanier

Stanier Black Five 45110

Railway engineer Sir William Stanier was Born 27th May 1876 in Swindon. His father worked for the Great Western Railway (GWR) as William Dean’s Chief Clerk, and educated at Swindon High School and also, for a single year, at Wycliffe College. In 1891 he followed his father into a career with the GWR, initially as an office boy and then for five years as an apprentice in the workshops. Between 1897 and 1900 he worked in the Drawing Office as a draughtsman, before becoming Inspector of Materials in 1900. In 1904, George Jackson Churchward appointed him as Assistant to the Divisional Locomotive Superintendent in London. In 1912 he returned to Swindon to become the Assistant Works Manager and in 1920 was promoted to the post of Works Manager.In late 1931, he was “headhunted” by Sir Josiah Stamp, chairman of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) to become the Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of that railway from 1 January 1932. He was charged with introducing modern and more powerful locomotive designs, using his knowledge gained at Swindon with the GWR. Stanier built many other very successful designs for the LMS, especially the “Black 5″ mixed traffic 4-6-0, and the 8F 2-8-0 freight locomotives.

His Coronation Scot set a new British record of 114 mph, beating the previous record set by a Gresley A4, but this was eclipsed by another Gresley A4 “Mallard”, which set a new record of 126 mph for Steam Engines which still stands to this day During WWII he worked as a consultant for the Ministry of Supply and retired in 1944. He was knighted on 9 February 1943 and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on his retirement, the only railway engineer other than George Stephenson to receive that honour. He was also president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for 1944. William Stanier, with the backing of Sir Josiah Stamp, Chairman of the Company, reversed the small engine policy, which the LMS had inherited from the Midland Railway, with beneficial results. William Stanier, sadly passed away 27 September 1965. Happily many of Stanier’s locomotives can still be seen working on Heritage lines throughout the United Kingdom. Including LMS 6201 Princess Elizabeth, the Stanier “Black Five” 45110 (which was used for the Fifteen Guineas Special in 1968) and the Stanier Mogul No. 42968. Among Stanier’s Best designs are:

LMS Class 2P 0-4-4T (designed in the Midland Railway design office),
LMS Class 3MT 2-6-2T,
LMS Class 4MT 2-6-4T (3-cyl),
LMS Class 4MT 2-6-4T (2-cyl),
LMS Class 5MT 2-6-0 ”Mogul”,
LMS Class 5MT “Black Five” 4-6-0,
LMS Class 6P “Jubilee” 4-6-0,
LMS Class 8P “Princess Royal” 4-6-2,
LMS Class 8P “Princess Coronation” 4-6-2,
LMS Class 8F 2-8-0, LMS Turbomotive

Christopher Lee

English actor and musician Sir Christopher Lee, CBE, CStJ was born 27 May 1922. Lee became famous for his role as Count Dracula in the Hammer Horror films. Other notable roles include Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun , Saruman in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy , and Count Dooku in the final two films of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. He has collaborated with director Tim Burton in five films, most recently with Dark Shadows. He considers his best role to be that of Lord Summerisle in the British cult classic The Wicker Man (1973). Lee is well known for his deep, strong voice and imposing height. He has performed roles in 275 films since 1946 making him the Guinness World Record holder for most film acting roles ever. He was knighted for services to drama and charity in 2009, and received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011. Lee has also released two epicly noisy heavy metal albums called Charlemagne: by the sword and the omens, and Charlemagne:The omens of Death.

Lee was born in Belgravia, Westminster, on 27th May 1922 and his mother took him and his sister to Switzerland. After enrolling in Miss Fisher’s Academy in Wengen, he played his first villainous role as Rumpelstiltskin. The family returned to London, where Lee attended Wagner’s private school. . Lee spent some time at Summer Fields School, a preparatory school in Oxford (notable for sending many alumni to Eton), where he applied unsuccessfully for a scholarship to Eton.In 1947. Lee made his film debut in Terence Young’s Gothic romance Corridor of Mirrors & was a student at the Rank “charm school” later that year, Lee made an uncredited appearance in Laurence Olivier’s film version of Hamlet as a spear carrier (marking his first film with frequent co-star and close friend Peter Cushing, who played Osric), and in John Huston’s Oscar-nominated Moulin Rouge. Throughout the next decade, he made nearly 30 films, playing stock action characters.Lee’s first horror film was The Curse of Frankenstein, in which he played Frankenstein’s monster, with Cushing as the Baron.

A little later, Lee co-starred with Boris Karloff in the film Corridors of Blood, and Lee’s own appearance as Frankenstein’s monster led to his first appearance as the Transylvanian vampire in the 1958 film Dracula. Lee returned to the role of Dracula in Hammer’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness in 1965 and later he also starred in Dracula Has Risen from the Grave , Taste the Blood of Dracula and Scars of Dracula. Lee’s other work for Hammer included The Mummy. He portrayed Rasputin in Rasputin, the Mad Monk and Sir Henry Baskerville (to Cushing’s Sherlock Holmes) in The Hound of the Baskervilles. Lee later played Holmes himself in 1962′s Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace, and returned to Holmes films with Billy Wilder’s British-made The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, in which he plays Sherlock’s smarter brother, Mycroft. Lee also played a leading role in the German film The Puzzle of the Red Orchid.He was responsible for bringing acclaimed occult author Dennis Wheatley to Hammer. The company made two films from Wheatley’s novels, both starring Lee., The Devil Rides Out and To the Devil a Daughter, Unfortunately though this was Hammer’s last horror film and marked the end of Lee’s long association with the studio. However Lee also appeared in horror films for other companies including the series of Fu Manchu films; I, Monster, The Creeping Flesh and The Wicker Man. In addition to doing films in the United Kingdom, Lee did movies in Mainland Europe including, Count Dracula, The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism, Castle of the Living Dead and Horror Express.

Since the mid 1970s, Lee has eschewed horror roles almost entirely. Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond spy novels and Lee’s step-cousin, had offered him the role of the titular antagonist in the first official Bond film Dr. No. Lee enthusiastically accepted, but was unable, until 1974, when Lee finally got to play a James Bond villain – the deadly assassin Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun. In 1982, Lee appeared in The Return of Captain Invincible. In 1985, he appeared alongside Reb Brown and Sybil Danning in Howling II: Stirba – Werewolf Bitch, and a few years later Lee made his latest appearances to date as Sherlock Holmes in 1991′s Incident at Victoria Falls and 1992′s Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady. Lee and Peter Cushing also both appeared in separate instalments of the Star Wars films, Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin in the original film, Lee years later as Count Dooku.Lee was at one point also considered for the role of comic book villain/hero Magneto in the screen adaptation of the popular comic book series X-Men, but he lost the role to Sir Ian McKellen. However Lee did play Saruman in the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy oposite Sir Ian Mckellen (Which I reckon is a much better role). Lee has also met Tolkien once (making him the only person in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy to have done so) and makes a habit of reading the novels at least once a year. Lee’s appearance in the third film was cut from the theatrical release. However, the scene was reinstated in the extended edition. This marked the beginning of a major career revival that continued in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), in which he played Count Dooku, a name allegedly chosen to reflect his fame playing Count Dracula.

Lee is one of the favourite actors of Tim Burton and has become a regular in many of Burton’s films, having now worked for the director five times since 1999. He had a small role as the Burgomaster in the film Sleepy Hollow. In 2005, Lee then went on to voice the character of Pastor Galswells in Corpse Bride co-directed by Burton and Mike Johnson and play a small role in the Burton’s reimagining of the Roald Dahl tale Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as Willy Wonka’s strict dentist father Dr. Wilbur Wonka. In 2007, Lee collaborated with Burton on Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, playing the spirit of Sweeney Todd’s victims called The Gentleman Ghost alongside Anthony Head, with both singing “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd”, in 2009, Lee starred in Stephen Poliakoff’s British period drama Glorious 39 with Julie Christie, Bill Nighy, Romola Garai and David Tennant, Academy Award-nominated director Danis Tanović’s war film Triage with Colin Farrell and Paz Vega, and Duncan Ward’s comedy Boogie Woogie alongside Amanda Seyfried, Gillian Anderson, Stellan Skarsgård and Joanna Lumley .In 2010, Lee marked his fourth collaboration with Tim Burton by voicing the Jabberwocky in Burton’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic book Alice in Wonderland alongside Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway, and reprised his role as Saruman in The Hobbit. saying he wants to show Saruman’s corruption by Sauron, portraying Saruman as a kind and noble wizard, before his subsequent fall into darkness. In 2012, Lee marked his fifth collaboration with Tim Burton by appearing in his film adaptation of the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. Lee also reprised his role as Saruman in the video game The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth along with the other actors of the films and has also contributed his voice as Death in the animated versions of Terry Pratchett’s Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters and reprised the role in the Sky1 live action adaptation The Colour of Magic, taking over the role from the late Ian Richardson.

During his long and varied career, Lee has recieved many Honours & awards. In 2001, Lee was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II and was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2009 by Prince Charles. Lee was named 2005′s ‘most marketable star in the world’ in a USA Today newspaper poll. In 2011, Lee was awarded the BAFTA Academy Fellowship by Tim Burton. In 2011, accompanied by his wife Birgit and on the 164th anniversary of the birth of Bram Stoker (It was the 165th anniversary on the 26th May), Lee was honoured with a tribute by University College Dublin, and described his honorary life membership of the UCD Law Society as “in some ways as special as the Oscars”. He was awarded the Bram Stoker Gold Medal by the Trinity College Philosophical Society, of which Stoker was President, and a copy of Collected Ghost Stories of MR James by Trinity College’s School of English.

Lauryn Hill (Fugees)

American singer Lauryn Hill was born on May 26, 1975, in East Orange, New Jersey. Her Baptist family moved to New York and Newark for short periods until settling in South Orange, New Jersey. She had a middle-class upbringing, knowing both many white Jewish families and many black ones.Future actor Zach Braff lived in the neighborhood, and she attended his Bar Mitzvah. She grew up in a musically oriented family: her mother played piano, and Her father sang in local nightclubs and at weddings. While growing up, Hill frequently listened to Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Gladys Knight; In middle school, Lauryn Hill performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a basketball game. In 1988, Hill appeared as an Amateur Night contestant on It’s Showtime at the Apollo. She sang her own version of the Smokey Robinson track “Who’s Lovin’ You?”. Hill attended Columbia High School, where she was a member of the track team, a cheerleader and classmate of Zach Braff. She also took violin lessons, went to dance class, and founded the school’s gospel choir.

Academically, she received primarily ‘A’ grades and While a freshman in high school, through mutual friends, Prakazrel “Pras” Michel approached Hill about a music group he was creating. Hill and Pras began under the name Tranzlator Crew, Another female vocalist was replaced by Michel’s cousin, multi-instrumentalist Wyclef Jean. The group began performing in local showcases and high school talent shows. Hill was initially only a singer, but then learned to rap too; instead of modeling herself on female rappers like Salt-n-Pepa and MC Lyte, she preferred male rappers like Ice Cube and developed her flow from listening to them. Hill also took acting lessons in Manhattan and began her acting career in 1991, appearing with Jean in Club XII, MC Lyte’s Off-Broadway hip-hop rendering of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Hill appeared on the soap opera As the World Turns in a recurring role as troubled teenager Kira Johnson and subsequently co-starred alongside Whoopi Goldberg in the 1993 release Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, playing Rita Louise Watson, an inner-city Catholic school teenager with a surly, rebellious attitude and performed the songs “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” (a duet with Tanya Blount) and “Joyful, Joyful”.Hill also appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s 1993 motion picture King of the Hill, in a minor but pivotal role as a 1930s gum-popping elevator operator. Hill graduated from Columbia High School in 1993.

Pras, Hill and Jean renamed their group the Fugees, a derivative of the word “refugee”, (derogatory term for Haitian Americans) Hill began a romantic relationship with Jean.The Fugees became known for their genre blending, particularly of reggae, rock and soul,on their debut album, Blunted on Reality, released in 1994. With Hill rapping on “Some Seek Stardom”. Within the group, she was frequently referred to by the nickname “L. Boogie”. Hill’s image and artistry, as well as her full, rich, raspy alto voice, placed her at the forefront of the band. The Fugees’ second album, The Score won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, and was later included on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time And included the Singles “Fu-Gee-La”,”Ready or Not”, “No Woman, No Cry”and “Killing Me Softly” Which won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. On the album, Hill combined African-American music and Caribbean music influences with socially conscious lyrics.

At 21 years old, the now-famous Hill was still living at home with her parents. She had been enrolled at Columbia University during this period, and considered majoring in history as she became a sophomore but left after about a year.In 1996, Hill responded to a false rumor on The Howard Stern Show that she had made a racist comment on MTV, saying “How can I possibly be a racist? My music is universal music. And I believe in God. If I believe in God, then I have to love all of God’s creations. There can be no segregation.” In 1996, Hill founded the Refugee Project, a non-profit outreach organization that sought to transform the attitudes and behavior of at-risk urban youth.Part of this was Camp Hill, which offered stays in the Catskill Mountains for such youngsters; another was production of an annual Halloween haunted house in East Orange. Hill also raised money for Haitian refugees, supported clean water well-building projects in Kenya and Uganda, and staged a rap concert in Harlem to promote voter registration. A 1997 benefit event for the Refugee Project introduced a Board of Trustees for the organization that included Sean Combs, Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes, Spike Lee, and others as members.

In 1997, the Fugees split to work on solo projects, which Jean later blamed on his tumultuous relationship with Hill and the fact he married his wife Claudinette while still involved with Hill. in 1996 Hill met Rohan Marley, a son of the late reggae legend Bob Marley and a former University of Miami football player and Hill subsequently began a relationship with him, while still also involved with Jean. Hill became pregnant, and in August 1997, Marley and Hill’s first child, Zion David, was born.The couple lived in Hill’s childhood house in South Orange after she bought her parents a new house down the street. Hill had a cameo appearance in the 1997 film Hav Plenty. In 1998, Hill took up another small but important role in the film Restaurant.

In 1997 Hill recorded her solo record The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, The title was inspired by the book The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson and The Education of Sonny Carson, a film and autobiographical novel featuring contributions from D’Angelo, Carlos Santana, Mary J. Blige and John Legend. Wyclef Jean initially did not support Hill recording a solo album,Several songs on the album concerned her frustration with the Fugees; such asI Used to Love Him” which dealt with the breakdown of the relationship between Hill and Wyclef Jean and “To Zion” which spoke about her decision to have her first baby. Hill then collaborated with a group of musicians known as New Ark, consisting of Vada Nobles, Rasheem Pugh, Tejumold Newton, and Johari Newton. She also wanted to be appreciated as an auteur as much as Jean had within the Fugees and also saw a feminist cause: “But step out and try and control things and there are doubts. This is a very sexist industry. They’ll never throw the ‘genius’ title to a sister.”

The album was Released In 1998 and blended R&B, doo-wop, pop, hip-hop, and reggae genres And contained the singles, “Lost Ones” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”. Hill, along with Blige, Missy Elliott, Meshell Ndegeocello, Erykah Badu, and others, had found a feminist voice with the neo soul genre. The album included the singles “Lost Ones”, “Doo Wop (That Thing)”,”Ex-Factor”, “Everything Is Everything” and “To Zion”. In November 1998, Marley and Hill’s second child, Selah Louise, was born. In 1999 Hill became the first woman to be nominated in ten categories in a single year. In addition to Miseducation she was nominated for her rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” for the 1997 film Conspiracy Theory and wrote and produced “A Rose Is Still a Rose”, which became a late-in-career hit for Aretha Franklin. Hill also broke another record by becoming the first woman to win five times in one night, including awards for Album of the Year, Best R&B Album, Best R&B Song, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and Best New Artist. Hill also received four awards at the 30th Annual NAACP Image Awards and In May 1999, she became the youngest woman ever named to Ebony magazine’s 100+ Most Influential Black Americans list and  named her as one of “10 For Tomorrow” in “Ebony 2000: Special Millennium Issue”. she made People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People list. In June 1999, she received an Essence Award.

In 2000, Hill was one of many artists and producers to share the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for Santana’s 1999 multi-million selling Supernatural, which she had written, produced, and rapped on the track “Do You Like the Way” it also featured the singing of CeeLo Green and the signature guitar of Carlos Santana). She was also nominated for Best R&B Song for “All That I Can Say”, which she had written and produced for Mary J. Blige. and “dueted” with Bob Marley on “Turn Your Lights Down Low” for the 1999 remix tribute album Chant Down Babylon additionally appeared in the 1999 film The Best Man and later received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

In 1998, New Ark filed a fifty-page lawsuit against Hill, her management, also her record label, claiming that Hill “failed to properly credit them for the work” on Miseducation. The musicians claimed to be the primary songwriters on two tracks, and major contributors on several others. Hill responded that New Ark had been appropriately credited and now were seeking to take advantage of her success. New Ark requested partial writing credits on most of the tracks on the album as well as monetary reimbursement. The Lawsuit was eventually settled out of court in February 2001, with Hill paying New Ark a reported $5 million. Hill began writing a screenplay about the life of Bob Marley, in which she planned to act as his wife Rita. She also began producing a romantic comedy about soul food and accepted a starring role in the film adaptation of Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved but later dropped out of both projects due to pregnancy. She also reportedly turned down roles in Charlie’s Angels (the part that went to Lucy Liu), The Bourne Identity, The Mexican, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

During 2000, the pressures of fame began to overwhelm Hill And she dropped out of the public eye. She fired her management team and began attending Bible study classes five days a week; she also stopped doing interviews, watching television and listening to music. She started associating with a “spiritual advisor” named Brother Anthony. In 2001, while pregnant with her third child, Hill Performed an MTV Unplugged special. An album of the concert, titled MTV Unplugged No. 2.0, was released in 2002 featuring her singing and playing an acoustic guitar. The song”Mystery of Iniquity” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female Rap Solo Performance and used as an interpolation by hip-hop producer/songwriter Kanye West for his single “All Falls Down”, as sung by Syleena Johnson. In 2001,Marley and Hill’s third child, Joshua Omaru, was born and their fourth, John Nesta was born in 2002

While Hill sometimes had spoken of Marley as her husband, they never married, and along the way she was informed that Marley had been previously married at a young age and had never divorced. So in 2003 she moved out into her own place in Miami. By 2002, Hill had shut down her non-profit Refugee Project. Then In 2003, during a performance in Vatican City, Hill caused controversy when she spoke of the “corruption, exploitation, and abuses” in reference to the molestation of boys by Catholic priests in the United States and the cover-up of offenses by Catholic Church officials.The Catholic League subsequently called Hill “pathologically miserable” and claimed her career was “in decline. In 2004, Hill contributed a new song, “The Passion”, to The Passion of the Christ: Songs. A remix version with John Legend of his “So High” ended up receiving a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Hill also began selling a pay-per-view music video of the song “Social Drugs” and began selling autographed posters and Polaroids through her website,

For the first time since 1997, the Fugees performed in September 2004 at Dave Chappelle’s Block Party in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. The concert featured Hill’s nearly a cappella rendition of “Killing Me Softly”. The event was recorded and released in 2006, The Fugees also appeared at BET Awards 2005 and  opened the show with a 12-minute set including the track, “Take It Easy”. The Fugees embarked on a European tour in  2005. Sadly Old tensions between Hill and the other members of the group soon resurfaced, and the reunion ended before an album could be recorded; Jean and Michel both blamed Hill for the split. Hill began a solo tour, to mixed reviews; often arriving late to concerts, performing unpopular reconfigurations of her songs and sporting an exaggerated appearance. In 2007 an album titled Ms. Hill, was released which featured cuts from Miseducation, various soundtracks contributions and other “unreleased” songs featuring  guest appearances from D’Angelo, Rah Digga and John Forté. Hill also released a new song, “Lose Myself”, on the soundtrack to the film Surf’s Up.

In 2008, Marley and Hill’s fifth child, Sarah, was born. The couple was not living together, although Marley considered them “spiritually together” even while listing himself as single on social media. During 2008, Hill was living with her mother and children in her hometown of South Orange, New Jersey. Hill made a rare public appearance in 2008 at a Martha Stewart book-signing in New Jersey. In 2009, Hill  was due to start a 10-day tour of European summer festivals including the Stockholm Jazz Festival, However She performed two shows for the tour and passed out on stage during the start of her second performance and left the stage. Hill did not perform at the Stockholm Jazz Festival either due to unspecified “health reasons and Shortly afterward, the rest of the tour was canceled too

In 2010, Hill performed in stops across New Zealand and Australia on the Raggamuffin Music Festival and an unofficial compilation album titled Khulami Phase was also released featuring a range of other material found on the Ms. Hill compilation. Hill appeared at the Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, California. The song “Repercussions” was released on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Hill performed at Coachella Valley Music Festival in California in 2011 And  joined the Rock the Bells hip-hop festival series in the U.S. in 2010 performing The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Hill also played a set at the 6th Annual Jazz in the Gardens, in Miami Gardens, Florida, the New Orleans Jazz Fest and at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. In  2011, Hill gave birth to her sixth child, Micah, her first not with Rohan Marley and In 2012, Hill performed a new song titled “Fearless Vampire Killer” and toured with rapper Nas; her portion of the tour, titled Black Rage, is named after a song.

Sadly In June 2012, Hill was charged with three counts of tax fraud or failing to file taxes (Title 26 USC § 7202 Willful failure to collect or pay over tax) not tax evasion on $1.8 million of income earned between 2005 and 2007 alledging that she had failed to pay tax despite earning money as a musical artist, earned royalties from both her records and from films she had appeared in, and had owned and been in charge of multiple corporations. in 2012, Hill appeared in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in Newark and pleaded guilty to the charges; her attorney said she would make restitution for the back taxes she owed. By 2013, Hill had paid back only $50,000 of the $554,000 she owed immediately; Hill also faced possible eviction from her rented home in South Orange as well as a civil lawsuit from the town for running a business out of a home without a zoning permit. In 2013, Hill released the single, “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)” stating that she was “required to release it immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline.” The song received some criticism for lyrics that appeared to tie societal decay to certain LGBT social movements. Sadly though this was not the end of her problems and In 2013, Hill was sentenced by Judge Arleo to serve three months in prison for failing to file taxes/tax fraud and three months house arrest afterwards as part of a year of supervised probation. She had faced a possible sentence of as long as 36 months, and the sentence given took into account her lack ofa prior criminal record and her six minor-aged children. Hill paid back the $970,000 in back taxes and penalties she owed. Hill reported to the minimum-security Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury In 2013, to begin serving her sentence. Hill was released on October 4, 2013, a few days early for good behavior, and began her home confinement and probationary periods and rleased a song “Consumerism” that she had written while incarcerated.

In 2014, Hill narrated Concerning Violence, an award-winning Swedish documentary on the African liberation struggles of the 1960s and 1970s and also appearedat Voodoo Fest And in 2015, Hill canceled her scheduled concert outside Tel Aviv in Israel following a social media campaign from activists promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.Hill contributed her voice to the soundtrack for What Happened, Miss Simone?, a 2015 documentary about the life of American singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone, recording six songs. In 2016, Hill hosted and headlined the inaugural Diaspora Calling! festival at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn to showcase the efforts of musicians and artists from around the African diaspora. She arrived late again for a gig atChastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta and subsequently faced a large backlash from her fans on Twitter,

Lenny Kravitz

American singer-songwriter,multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actor and arranger Lenny Kravitz was born May 26, 1964. Kravitz began banging on pots and pans in the kitchen, playing them as drums at the age of three. At the age of five, he wanted to be a musician. He began playing the drums and soon added guitar. Kravitz grew up listening to the music his parents listened to: R&B, jazz,classical, opera, gospel, and blues. “My parents were very supportive of the fact that I loved music early on, and they took me to a lot of shows,” Kravitz said.[8] Around the age of seven, he saw The Jackson 5 perform at Madison Square Garden, which became his favorite group.His father, who was also a jazz promoter, was friends with Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Short, Miles Davis and other jazz greats. Ellington even played “Happy Birthday” for him one year when he was about 5.

He was exposed to the soul music of Motown, Stax, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield,Gladys Knight, The Isley Brothers and Gamble and Huff growing up who were key influences on his musical style. Kravitz often went to see New York theater, where his mother worked. His mother encouraged his dreams of pursuing music.In 1974, the Kravitz family relocated to Los Angeles when Kravitz’s mother landed her role on The Jeffersons. At his mother’s urging, Kravitz joined the California Boys Choir for three years, where he performed a classical repertoire, and sang with the Metropolitan Opera. He took part in Mahler’s Third Symphony at the Hollywood Bowl. It was in Los Angeles that Kravitz was first introduced to rock music, listening to Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Cream, and The Who.”I was attracted to the cool style, the girls, the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle,” Kravitz said. Kravitz’s other musical influences at the time included Fela Kuti, Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye,Pharoah Sanders and Miles Davis; John Lennon and Bob Marley proved later to be influential as well.Kravitz attended Beverly Hills High School. Maria McKee, actor Nicolas Cage and musician Slash were his classmates. In 1978, Kravitz was accepted into the school’s well-respected music program. He taught himself to play piano and bass, and made friends with Zoro who would later become his long-time collaborator.

Kravitz wanted to be a session musician. He also appeared as an actor in television commercials during this time.With record labels still telling him his music wasn’t “black enough” or “white enough,” His “retro” style incorporates elements of rock, soul, R&B, funk, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, folk and ballads. In addition to singing lead and backing vocals, Kravitz often played all the guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and percussion himself when recording. So Kravitz decided to record an album on his own. Kravitz had met recording engineer/keyboardist/bassist Henry Hirsch in 1985 when recording a demo at his Hoboken, New Jerseyrecording studio. Kravitz released his début album Let Love Rule on September 6, 1989, a combination of rock and funk with a general 1960s vibe. Music critics were mixed: some felt Kravitz was a gifted new artist, others felt he was overpowered by his musical influences. The album was a moderate success in the United States, but became an instant hit outside of the US, especially in Europe. Lisa Bonet directed the debut music video for the title track, “Let Love Rule.” Stephen Smith signed Kravitz with talent booking agency CAA, he was soon opening for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Bob Dylan and David Bowie. Kravitz also produced the song “Justify My Love” for Madonna, which he co-wrote with Ingrid Chavez. The song, which appeared on her greatest hits album The Immaculate Collection. .In 1991, Kravitz produced the self-titled album Vanessa Paradis for French singer and actress Vanessa Paradis. He also released his second album, Mama Said, which included Kravitz’s biggest single yet, “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over,”and the single “Always on the Run,” a tribute to his mother, featured Slash on guitar. “Stand By My Woman” and “What Goes Around Comes Around” followed.Sean Lennon co-wrote and played piano on the song “All I Ever Wanted”

In 1995, Lenny Kravitz released the album Circus, which went to number 10 on the Billboard chart on the back of his past achievement. However, the album only had two hit singles: “Rock and Roll Is Dead” and “Can’t Get You Off My Mind.”With 5 (1998), Kravitz embraced digital technology such as Pro Tools and samplers for the first time. 5 introduced his music to an even wider audience thanks to the hit single “Fly Away” being featured prominently in both car manufacturer and airline commercials. 5would reach number 28 on the Billboard 200, with “Fly Away” reaching number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 in the United Kingdom. He would win the first of his four consecutive Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards of 1999. Other hits from the album included “If You Can’t Say No”, that was also remixed by dance producer Brian Transeau, and “I Belong to You.” For the I Belong to You video Lenny can be seen without his signature dreadlocks. In 1999 he produced and sang with Cree Summer on her solo album Street Faerie.Kravitz worked on two songs for Michael Jackson’s Invincible album released in 2001; a snippet of “Another Day” has leaked, and the full version was officially released on the album Michael in 2010 .[14]Kravitz released a Greatest Hits album in 2000. It proved to be his most successful album, reaching #2 on the Billboard 200 and selling nearly 11 million copies worldwide and ultimately becoming one of the most commercially successful albums of the decade. The single “Again” earned him his third consecutive Grammy for the Best Male Rock Vocal in the Grammy Awards of 2001 and peaked at number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Kravitz also co-wrote the song “God Gave Me Everything” with Mick Jagger in this period, appearing on Jagger’s 2001 solo album Goddess in the Doorway and in the film Being Mick.

On 2001, Kravitz released his sixth album Lenny and participated in a benefit auction for the Red Hot Organization, in conjunction with Amazon.com to increase public AIDS awareness, which ran from February 28 until April 11, 2001. The event featured rare RHO memorabilia and the work of Rolling Stone photographer Mark Seliger.In 1993, Kravitz wrote “Line Up” for Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and appeared on Mick Jagger’s solo album, Wandering Spirit, in a cover of the Bill Withers soul classic “Use Me”, and played guitar on the title track of David Bowie’s The Buddha of Suburbia. That year Kravitz also got to work with idols Al Green and Curtis Mayfield.In 1993, Are You Gonna Go My Way was released, reaching number 12 on the Billboard 200 and Kravitz earned a BRIT Award for best international male artist in 1994. The title track won a MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Video for the video produced by Mark Romanek, in which Kravitz slung his dreadlocks and wore high-heeled platform boots. During the presentation of the MTV Video Music Awards, he performed the song with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin on bass. Several singles from the album would follow including, “Believe,” “Is There Any Love In Your Heart,” and “Heaven Help/Spinning Around Over You.” This album was the first to feature guitaristCraig Ross, who has also played on all his subsequent albums.[13] One song, “Eleutheria,” was influenced by the island Eleuthera in The Bahamas where Kravitz built a house and recording studio at that time.[10] In 1993, he also released the EP Spinning Around Over You, which included four live tracks from his “Universal Love Tour”. A feature documentary about his 1994 tour entitled Alive From Planet Earth was directed by Doug Nichol and released.In 1994, Kravitz recorded a funk-rock version of the song “Deuce,” for the KISS cover album KISS My Ass: Classic KISS Regrooved. The track featured Stevie Wonder on harmonica and background vocals. This song was one of three radio singles from the album, and was also the album’s lead-off track.

Kravitz’s seventh album Baptism was released in May 2004. The first single was “Where Are We Runnin’?”. The single “California” failed to be commercially successful, but “Storm”, featuring Jay-Z, reached the charts. “Calling All Angels” was successful in various countries and a huge hit in Brazil, however it was “Lady” that became the album’s surprise hit, making the US Top 30 and propellingBaptism to gold status. Also in 2004, he appeared on N.E.R.D’s album Fly or Die. From March 2005, Kravitz toured all over the world with the tour Electric Church, which ended at the Brixton Academy, London in July 2005. Kravitz served as the opening act forAerosmith who are long term friends of Kravitz on their fall 2005 tour. The tour began on October 30 at the Mohegan Sun Arena inUncasville, Connecticut. The night before that tour started, October 29, 2005, Lenny’s father TV Producer Sy Kravitz died. During that first show, Lenny broke the news to the stunned crowd and stated it was not a time to be sad but rather a time to celebrate because he is now in Heaven. Lenny then dedicated Let Love Rule to his father. That tour was so successful that it was extended through February 25, 2006 and ended in Anaheim, California. In January 2006, Kravitz contributed “Breathe” to absoluttracks, a project sponsored by Absolut Vodka.Lately, Kravitz has founded a design firm named Kravitz Design, stating if he hadn’t been a musician he would have been a designer. Kravitz Design, focused on interior and furniture design, has designed residential spaces, as well as a chandelier for the crystal company Swarovski, named “Casino Royale”.

In 2007, Kravitz performed at the Brazilian leg of Live Earth in Rio de Janeiro, making him one of three major international rock stars to perform two huge free concerts at the world-famous Copacabana Beach along with Macy Gray and the Rolling Stones. Also in 2007, Kravitz released a version of “Cold Turkey” by John Lennon on the charity CD Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. Kravitz also spent time recording his latest album, It Is Time for a Love Revolution, released February 5, 2008. He also performed on the 2007, the Fats Domino tribute album “Goin’ Home ; A Tribute To Fats Domino” on the song “Whole Lotta Lovin’” along with Rebirth Brass Band, Troy “Trombone Shorty” On July 15, 2008, Lenny was honored in Milan, Italy with the key to the city in a special toast ceremony for his work with the United Nations Millennium Campaign to end world poverty. Kravitz’ next album, tentatively titled Funk, was tentatively re-titled Negrophilia Featuring the songs “”Stand”, “Super Love” “Come on Get It” and “Life Ain’t Never Been Better Than It Is Now” Eventually the album was later named Black and White America. On May 23, 2011, Lionsgate announced that Kravitz would be joining the cast and crew of The Hunger Games, as Katniss’ creative stylist, Cinna.

Kravitz has won many awards including the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance four years in a row from 1999 to 2002, breaking the record for most wins in that category as well as setting the record for most consecutive wins in one category by a male. He has been nominated for and won other awards, including American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, Radio Music Awards, BRIT Awards and Blockbuster Entertainment Awards. On December 1, 2011, Kravitz was made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He plays the role of Cinna in The Hunger Games film series. Kravitz was honored with one of the highest cultural awards in France when he was made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by French cultural minister Frederic Mitterrand in Paris.

Sir Ian McKellen

English actor Sir Ian Murray McKellen, CH, CBE was born 25 May 1939 in Burnley, Lancashire. Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, his family moved to Wigan. They lived there until Ian was twelve years old, before relocating to Bolton in 1951, after his father had been promoted. McKellen’s father was a civil engineer and lay preacher, and was of Protestant Irish and Scottish descent.[14] Both of McKellen’s grandfathers were preachers, and his great-great-grandfather, James McKellen, was a “strict, evangelical Protestant minister” in Ballymena, County Antrim. His home environment was strongly Christian, but non-orthodox. When he was 12, his mother died of breast cancer; his father died when he was 24. His great-great-grandfather Robert J. Lowes was an activist and campaigner in the ultimately successful campaign for a Saturday half-holiday in Manchester, the forerunner to the modern five-day work week, thus making Lowes a “grandfather of the modern weekend. McKellen attended Bolton School (Boys’ Division), and his acting career started at Bolton Little Theatre, of which he is now the patron.

An early fascination with the theatre was encouraged by his parents, who took him on a family outing to Peter Pan at the Opera House in Manchester when he was three. When he was nine, his main Christmas present was a wood and bakelite, fold-away Victorian theatre from Pollocks Toy Theatres, with cardboard scenery and wires to push on the cut-outs of Cinderella and of Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet. His sister took him to his first Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night, by the amateurs of Wigan’s Little Theatre, shortly followed by their Macbeth and Wigan High School for Girls’ production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with music by Mendelssohn, with the role of Bottom played by Jean McKellen. In 1958, McKellen won a scholarship to St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he read English literature.While at Cambridge, McKellen was a member of the Marlowe Society, where he appeared in 23 plays over the course of 3 years. At that young age he was already giving performances that have since become legendary such as his Justice Shallow in Henry IV alongside Trevor Nunn and Derek Jacobi, Cymbeline (as Posthumus, opposite Margaret Drabble as Imogen) and Doctor Faustus.

McKellen made his first professional appearance in 1961 at the Belgrade Theatre, as Roper in A Man for All Seasons. After four years in regional repertory theatres he made his first West End appearance, in A Scent of Flowers. In 1965 he was a member of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company at the Old Vic, which led to roles at the Chichester Festival. With the Prospect Theatre Company, McKellen made his breakthrough performances of Richard II and Marlowe’s Edward II at the Edinburgh festival in 1969. During the 1970s and 1980s McKellen performed frequently at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre, portraying several leading Shakespearean characters including Macbeth and Iago in Othello. In 2007 he appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company, productions of King Lear and The Seagull. In 2009 he appeared in Waiting for Godot at London’s Haymarket Theatre, opposite Patrick Stewart. He is Patron of English Touring Theatre and also President and Patron of the Little Theatre Guild of Great Britain, an association of amateur theatre organisations throughout the UK. In late August 2012, he took part in the opening ceremony of the London Paralympics, portraying Prospero from The Tempest.

McKellen’s career spans genres ranging from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular fantasy and science fiction and He started his professional career in 1961 at the Belgrade Theatre as a member of their highly regarded repertory company. In 1965 McKellen made his first West End appearance. In 1969 he was invited to join the Prospect Theatre Company to play the lead parts in Shakespeare’s Richard II and Marlowe’s Edward II, firmly establishing himself as one of the country’s foremost classical actors. In the 1970s McKellen became a stalwart of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Great Britain. He achieved worldwide fame for his notable film roles, which include Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and Magneto in the X-Men films, both of which introduced McKellen to a new generation.

McKellen is the recipient of six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BIF Award, two Saturn Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and two Critics’ Choice Awards. He has also received two Oscar nominations, four BAFTA nominations and five Emmy Award nomination. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1979 Birthday Honours, was knighted in the 1991 New Year Honours for services to the performing arts, and made a Companion of Honour for services to drama and to equality in the 2008 New Year Honours. He has been openly gay since 1988, and continues to be a champion for LGBT social movements worldwide. He was made a Freeman of the City of London in October 2014.

Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac)

Stevie Nicks musician with Fleetwood Mac was born 26 May 1948. Fleetwood Mac were formed in 1966 in London, they were originally named The Bluesbreakers and Founder Peter Green named the group by combining he surnames of two of his bandmates (Fleetwood and McVie). Christine Mcvie joined the band in 1970 while married to John McVie, Green asked if drummer Mick Fleetwood could join having already been in two bands with Fleetwood. The Bluesbreakers now consisted of Green, Fleetwood, John McVie and Mayall. Green contacted Fleetwood to form a new band and wanted McVie on bass guitar even naming the band ‘Fleetwood Mac’ as a way to entice him. The band made its debut in 1967 at the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival. Feetwood Mac’s first album, Fleetwood Mac, was a no-frills blues album. The band soon released two singles “Black Magic Woman” (later a big hit for Santana) and “Need Your Love So Bad”.The band’s second album, Mr. Wonderful, was released in August 1968. Like the first it was an all-blues album, Then next album was Then Play on”.

Sadly Peter Green left and Fleetwood Mac released Kiln House which was more rock. Spencer’s wrote the country-tinged “Sun Sound” meanwhile Christine contributed to Kiln House, singing backup vocals, and drawing the album cover. They also released a single “Dragonfly” b/w “The Purple Dancer” . Christine McVie, made her first appearance with the band in 1969 and played her first gig as an official member on 6 August 1970 in New Orleans. An album of previously unreleased material from the original Fleetwood Mac called The Original Fleetwood Mac was also released, Then While on tour in 1971, guitarist Jeremy Spencer disappeared and After several days of frantic searching, the band discovered that he had joined a religious group, the Children of God. So the band hired Bob Welch as Guitarist. In September 1971, the band released “Future Games” and “Bare Trees” six months later. This featured the songs “Sentimental Lady”, &“Spare Me a Little of Your Love”, sadly whilst on tour Danny Kirwan developed an alcohol dependency and Fleetwood fired him. In September 1972, the band added guitarist Bob Weston and vocalist Dave Walker and also hired Savoy Brown’s road manager, John Courage.

Mick, John, Christine, Welch, Weston, and Walker recorded the album “Penguin”. After the tour, the band fired Walker The remaining five recorded “Mystery to Me” six months later containing the song “Hypnotized” . However, things were not well within the band. The McVies’ marriage was under a lot of stress, aggravated by their constant working together, and John McVie’s considerable alcohol abuse. During the tour, Weston also had an affair with Fleetwood’s wife, Jenny Boyd Fleetwood, the sister of Pattie Boyd Harrison. Fleetwood soon fired Weston and the tour was cancelled and in one of the most bizarre events in rock history, the band’s manager, Clifford Davis, claimed that he owned the name Fleetwood Mac and put out a “fake Mac”. Nobody in the “fake Mac” was ever officially in the real band, Fans were told that Bob Welch and John McVie had quit the group, and that Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie would be joining the band at a later date. Fleetwood Mac’s road manager, John Courage, hid the real Fleetwood Mac’s equipment, which helped shorten the tour by the fake band. But the lawsuit that followed put the real Fleetwood Mac out of commission for almost a year. The issue was who actually owned the name “Fleetwood Mac”. Unfortunately Fleetwood and McVie, had signed contracts forfeiting the rights to the name. The “real” Fleetwood Mac were in fact Fleetwood, Welch and the McVies. While this did not end the legal battle, the band was able to record as Fleetwood Mac again.

Fleetwood Mac decided to manage themselves and released Heroes Are Hard to Find in September 1974 and added a second keyboardist Doug Graves. After Welch left the band, Fleetwood began searching for a possible replacement. While Fleetwood was scouting Van Nuys, California,Mick Fleetwood heard a song titled “Frozen Love” by an American band, Buckingham Nicks. Fleetwood liked it, and invited the guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and his musical partner and girlfriend, Stephanie “Stevie” Nicks, to join Fleetwood Mac. In 1975, the new line-up released the eponymous Fleetwood Mac which contained Christine McVie’s “Over My Head”, “Say You Love Me”, and Stevie Nicks’ “Rhiannon” and “Landslide” .

Sadly the breakdown of John and Christine McVie’s marriage, Mick Fleetwood and Jenny’s marriage and Buckingham and Nicks’ long term romantic relationship, plus creative and personal tensions, fuelled by high consumption of drugs and alcohol, created problems within the band. This resulted in the album Rumours, in which they laid bare the emotional turmoil experienced at that time. Critically acclaimed, it was the recipient of the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for 1977. Hit singles included Buckingham’s “Go Your Own Way”, Nicks’s U.S. No.1 “Dreams”, and Christine McVie’s “Don’t Stop” and “You Make Loving Fun”. Buckingham’s “Second Hand News”, Nicks’ “Gold Dust Woman” and “The Chain”. ’Buckingham pursuaded Fleetwood to make the next album more experimental and the result was the quirky 20-track double album, Tusk. It spawned three hit singles; Lindsey Buckingham’s “Tusk” Christine McVie’s “Think About Me” and Stevie Nicks’ 6½ minute opus “Sara” .Tusk remains one of Fleetwood Mac’s most ambitious albums to date. The band also recorded music for the Fleetwood Mac Live album, which was released at the end of 1980.The next album, 1982′s Mirage, followed solo albums by Nicks (Bella Donna) and Buckingham (Law and Order). Mirage was a return to the more conventional sound to recapture the huge success of Rumours. Its hits included Christine McVie’s “Hold Me” and “Love In Store” Stevie Nicks’s “Gypsy”, and Lindsey Buckingham’s “Oh Diane”, “Eyes Of The World” and “Can’t Go Back”.

Following Mirage, the band members went on to pursue solo careers. Stevie Nicks released two more solo albums (1983′s The Wild Heart and 1985′s Rock a Little), Lindsey Buckingham issued Go Insane in 1984, the same year that Christine McVie made an eponymous album (yielding the Top 10 hit “Got A Hold On Me” and the Top 40 hit “Love Will Show Us How”). However, during this period, Mick Fleetwood filed for bankruptcy, Nicks was admitted to the Betty Ford Clinic for addiction problems, and John McVie had suffered an addiction-related seizure—all attributed to the lifestyle of excess afforded to them by their worldwide success and It was rumoured that Fleetwood Mac had finally broken up. Fleetwood Mac recorded the album, Tango in the Night, in 1987. The album went on to become their best-selling release since Rumours, Itcontained four hits: Christine McVie’s “Little Lies” and “Everywhere” (the former being co-written with McVie’s new husband Eddy Quintela), Sandy Stewart and Stevie Nicks’ “Seven Wonders”, and Lindsey Buckingham’s “Big Love”. “Family Man”, “Isn’t It Midnight”, Lindsey Buckingham left and Following his departure, Fleetwood Mac added two new guitarists to the band,Billy Burnette and Rick Vito. Vito, was a Peter Green admirer, and had played with many artists from Bonnie Raitt to John Mayall, and even worked with John McVie on two Mayall albums.

Capitalising on the success of Tango in the Night, the band continued with a Greatest Hits album in 1988 which featured singles from the 1975–88 era, and included two new songs: “No Questions Asked” , and “As Long as You Follow” . It was dedicated to Buckingham. Fleetwood Mac then recorded the album Behind the Mask, which included McVie’s “Save Me”. The subsequent “Behind the Mask” tour saw the band play sold out shows at London’s Wembley Stadium, and on the final show in Los Angeles, the band were joined onstage by Buckingham. The two women of the band, who, had both decided that the tour would be their last though both stated that they would still record with the band. However, in 1991, both Nicks and Rick Vito left Fleetwood Mac altogether. In 1992, Fleetwood himself arranged a 4-disc box set spanning highlights from the band’s 25 year history, titled 25 Years – The Chain. The box set, included brand new songs, “Paper Doll”, “Heart of Stone”,”Love Shines”, and “Make Me a Mask”, Mick Fleetwood also released a deluxe hardcover companion book to coincide with the release of the box set, titled My 25 Years in Fleetwood Mac, which features many rare photographs and notes (written by Fleetwood himself) detailing the band’s 25 year history.

Inspired by the new interest in the band, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie recorded another album as Fleetwood Mac, with Billy Burnette The band, minus Christine McVie, toured in 1994 performing classic Fleetwood Mac songs from the initial 1967–1974 era. On 10 October 1995, Fleetwood Mac released Time and disbanded. Bramlett and Burnette subsequently formed a country music duo, Bekka & Billy. Just weeks after disbanding Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood announced that he was working with Lindsey Buckingham again. John McVie was soon added to the sessions, and later Christine McVie. Stevie Nicks also enlisted Lindsey Buckingham to produce a song for the Twister film soundtrack. This eventually led to a full Rumours line-up reunion when the band officially reformed in March 1997. The regrouped Mac performed a live concert and from this performance came the 1997 live album The Dance. They also released the 20th anniversary of their Rumours album. In 1998, Fleetwood Mac (Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed at the Grammy Awards program that year. They were also the recipients of the “Outstanding Contribution to Music” award at the BRIT Awards. In 1998, Christine McVie left the band permanently, Her departure left Buckingham and Nicks to sing all the lead vocals for the band’s 2003 album,Say You Will, although Christine did contribute some backing vocals and keyboards. The album yielded chart hits with “Peacekeeper” and the title track.”Fleetwood Mac toured in 2009, The tour was branded as a ‘greatest hits’ show entitled Unleashed, Stevie Nicks also premiered part of a new song that she had written about Hurricane Katrina. The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac was re-released And an episode of Glee entitled “Rumours” which featured six songs from the band’s 1977 album was also broadcast sparking renewed interest in the band, Rumours also re-entered the charts, the same week Stevie Nicks’ new solo album In Your Dreams. Fleetwood Mac reunited for 2013 minus two of the orginall members: late guitarist and singer Bob Weston and late guitarist Bob Welch and performed two new songs (“Sad Angel” and “Without You”),

Dracula

The classic gothic horror novel Dracula by Bram Stoker was first published 26th May 1897. it features an Estate Agent named Jonathan Harker who is dispatched to Transylvania to finalize the move of a mysterious and enigmatic Romanian nobleman called Count Dracula to England. Unfortunately Harker encounters the deadly Brides of Dracula who almost kill him. Meanwhile the Count leaves Transylvania and travels to England aboard the vessel Dimeter, however all the crew mysteriously vanish and the ship runs aground at Whitby. Dracula successfully purchases multiple estates under the alias ‘Count De Ville’ throughout London. Dracula encounters Lucy Westenra, who lives in Whitby, and she begins suffering from episodes of sleepwalking and dementia. Lucy receives three marriage proposals from Dr. John Seward, Quincey Morris, and Arthur Holmwood (the son of Lord Godalming who later obtains the title himself. Dracula communicates with Seward’s mentally unstable patient Renfield. When Lucy begins to waste away suspiciously.

Seward invites his old teacher, Abraham Van Helsing, who immediately determines the true cause of Lucy’s condition. He diagnoses inexplicable blood loss. Helsing prescribes numerous blood transfusions to which Dr. Seward, Helsing, Quincy and Arthur all contribute over time. Helsing also prescribes flowers to be placed throughout her room and weaves a necklace of withered Garlic Blossoms for her to wear as well. She however continues to waste away – appearing to lose blood every night. Lucy and her mother are attacked by a wolf; Mrs. Westenra, dies of fright. Van Helsing attempts to protect her with garlic. The doctors find two small puncture marks about her neck, which Dr Seward is at a loss to understand. Helsing then places a crucifix around her neck, but soon after she is discovered dead with the crucifix missing.

Following Lucy’s death, the newspapers report children being stalked in the night Van Helsing, knowing Lucy has become a vampire, confides in Seward, Lord Godalming, and Morris. The suitors and Van Helsing track her down and confront her. Meanwhile Jonathan Harker arrives from Budapest, where Mina marries him after his escape. They team up to clobber Dracula however Dracula learns of the group’s plot against him, and attacks Mina on three occasions, and feeds Mina his own blood to control her. This curses Mina with vampirism but does not completely turn her into a vampire. Van Helsing attempts to cure Mina and hypnotized her into revealing Dracula’s whereabouts. Having discovered their actions Dracula flees back to his castle in Transylvania and They pursue him under the guidance of Mina leading to an exciting final showdown.

Bram Stoker was born 8 November 1847 in Clontarf, Dublin Ireland and was bed-ridden until he started school at the age of seven, when he made a complete recovery. Of this time, Stoker wrote, “I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years.” He was educated in a private school run by the Rev. William Woods.After his recovery, he grew up without further major health issues, even excelling as an athlete (he was named University Athlete) at Trinity College, Dublin, which he attended from 1864 to 1870. He graduated with honours in mathematics. He was auditor of the College Historical Society and president of the University Philosophical Society, where his first paper was on “Sensationalism in Fiction and Society”.

Stoker became interested in the theatre while a student through a friend, Dr. Maunsell. He became the theatre critic for the Dublin Evening Mail, co-owned by the author of Gothic tales Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. Stoker also wrote stories, and in 1872 “The Crystal Cup” was published by the London Society, followed by “The Chain of Destiny” in four parts in The Shamrock. In 1876, while a civil servant in Dublin, Stoker wrote a non-fiction book (The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, published 1879), which remained a standard work . Furthermore, he possessed an interest in art, and was a founder of the Dublin Sketching Club in 1874. On 31 December 1879, Stoker became acting manager and then business manager of Irving’s Lyceum Theatre, London, he became involved in London’s high society, and met Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (to whom he was distantly related)

Managing one of the most successful theatres in London made Stoker a notable if busy man. In London Stoker also met Hall Caine who became one of his closest friends – he dedicated Dracula to him. Although Stoker travelled the world, he never visited Eastern Europe, a setting for his most famous novel. Stoker enjoyed the United States,While working as a manager, secretary and director of London’s Lyceum Theatre, he began writing novels beginning with The Snake’s Pass in 1890 and Dracula in 1897. During this period, Stoker was also part of the literary staff of the London Daily Telegraph and wrote other fiction, including the horror novels The Lady of the Shroud (1909) and The Lair of the White Worm (1911). In 1906, he managed productions at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Before writing Dracula, Stoker spent several years researching European folklore and mythological stories of vampires. At the time of its publication, Dracula was considered a “straightforward horror novel” based on imaginary creations of supernatural life. “It gave form to a universal fantasy and became a part of popular culture.” Stoker’s inspirations for the story, in addition to Whitby, may have included a visit to Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire, a visit to the crypts of St. Michan’s Church in Dublin and the novella Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.

Coincidentally The late great English Actor Peter Cushing OBE (Who starred in many film adaptations of Dracula was born on May 26th in 1913. He debuted in The Man in the Iron Mask, then returned in 1941 after roles in several films. In one, A Chump at Oxford (1940), he appeared alongside Laurel and Hardy. His first major film part was as Osric in Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948). During the 1950s, he also worked in television, notably as Winston Smith in the BBC’s adaptation of the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and the films The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958). He has also played the vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing many times, and the distinguished-looking but sinister scientist Baron Frankenstein amongst many other roles, often appearing opposite Christopher Lee, and occasionally Vincent Price. A familiar face on both sides of the Atlantic, his most famous roles outside of “Hammer Horror” include his many appearances as Sherlock Holmes.

Peter Cushing also appeared as the villainous Imperial Officer Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars episode IV, which came out 25th May 1977 and which celebrates the 40th Anniversary of its release in 2017. His likeness was also digitally created for the film Rogue One.

Cushing also starred as the mysterious Timelord The Doctor in the film Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150 AD in 1965 and 1966, both based on Doctor Who. Cushing is best rememberes for his  association with the roles of Baron Victor Frankenstein and Van Helsing in a long string of horror films produced by Hammer Film Productions, in which He was often cast opposite the actor Christopher Lee, with whom he became best friends and who also starred in Star Wars episodes II and III.

Return of the Jedi

Epic science fiction film Return of the Jedi was released 25 May 1983. six years to the day after the release of the first film, Star Wars. It was the third and final installment in the original Star Wars trilogy and is set one year after The Empire Strikes Back it stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew and Frank Oz.

It starts when Luke, Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2. Attempt to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the hutts palace on Tatooine. Leia disguised as a bounty hunter with Chewbacca as her prisoner releases Han from his carbonite prison, but she is captured and enslaved. Luke arrives soon afterward, but is also captured after a tense standoff. After Luke confronts Jabba’s Rancor, Jabba sentences him and Han to death by feeding them to the Sarlacc. Luke frees himself and battles Jabba’s guards. During the chaos, Leia confronts Jabba and Luke destroys Jabba’s sail barge as the group escapes. While the others rendezvous with the Rebel Alliance,

Luke returns to Dagobah to continue his Jedi training but finds that Yoda is dying. Before he dies, Yoda confirms that Darth Vader, once known as Anakin Skywalker, is Luke’s father, and that there is “another Skywalker”. The spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi confirms that this other Skywalker is Luke’s twin sister, Leia. Obi-Wan tells Luke that he must fight Vader again to defeat the Empire.

The Rebel Alliance learns that the Empire is constructing a new Death Star under the supervision of the Emperor himself. The station is protected by an energy shield, Generated by a shield generator on the forest moon of Endor. So Han Solo leads a team to destroy the shield generator enabling starfighters to destroy the Death Star. The strike team, accompanied by Luke and Leia, travels to Endor in a stolen Imperial shuttle. On Endor, Luke and his companions encounter a tribe of Ewoks and,eventually gain their trust. Later, Luke tells Leia that she is his sister, Vader is their father, and that he must go and confront him. Surrendering to Imperial troops, Luke is brought to Vader and unsuccessfully tries to convince him to turn from the dark side of the Force.

Vader takes Luke to the Death Star to meet the Emperor, intent on turning him to the dark side. The Emperor reveals that the Death Star is actually fully operational and the Rebel fleet will fall into a trap. On Endor, Han’s strike team is captured by Imperial forces, but a surprise counterattack by the Ewoks allows the Rebels to battle the Imperials. Meanwhile, Lando, piloting the Millennium Falcon, leads the Rebel fleet to the Death Star, only to find that the station’s shield is still active and the Imperial fleet is waiting for them. The Emperor tempts Luke to give in to his anger, and Luke engages Vader in a lightsaber duel. Vader senses that Luke has a sister, and threatens to turn her to the dark side. Enraged, Luke attacks Vader and severs his father’s prosthetic right hand. The Emperor entreats Luke to kill Vader and take his place, but Luke refuses, declaring himself a Jedi as his father had been. The furious Emperor tortures Luke with Force lightning. Unwilling to let his son die, Vader kills the Emperor but is mortally electrocuted in the process. At his request, Luke removes the redeemed Anakin’s mask before he dies in his arms.

As the battle between the Imperial and Alliance fleets continues, the strike team defeats the Imperial forces and destroys the shield generator, allowing the Rebel fleet to launch their assault on the Death Star. Lando leads a group of Rebel ships into the Death Star’s core to destroy the main reactor. Meanwhile Luke escapes on a shuttle with his father’s body,

Several home video and theatrical releases and revisions to the film followed over the next 20 years. Star Wars continued with Episode I: The Phantom Menace as part of the film series’ prequel trilogy. A sequel, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was released on December 18, 2015, as part of the new sequel trilogy.

Lilac Day

Fans of Terry Pratchett wear a lilac on 25 May in remembrance of the Glorious Revolution of Treacle Mine Road which took place during the novel Night Watch. Following Pratchett’s diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s in 2007, fans also Wear the Lilac in celebration of Pratchett and to raise awareness and funding for Alzheimer’s research.

The Revolution of Treacle Mine Road ended the increasingly tough reign of Lord Winder. Tension had been rising, and while the nobility arranged a quiet succession by Lord Snapcase in the background, the people on the streets started a revolution and attacked Watch Houses all over the city. A few streets around Treacle Mine Road were barricaded at first. Soon more people started barricading streets, barricades were moved forward and merged together, covering at least a quarter of the city – including the food industry. The resulting area was called The People’s Republic of Treacle Mine Road. The watchmen of the Treacle Mine Road Watch House led the Republic together with some enthusiastic angry young men, among them the then-living Reg Shoe.

A change in history resulted in Sam Vimes under the name of John Keel saving the Republic until Lord Snapcase became Patrician. Unfortunately Many people died, after an attack planned by Carcer prompted by Snapcase’s concerns about what “Keel” could get up to if left alone for a month after serving as such a prominent leader after less than a week in the city. Each year, on the 25th of May, a group of survivors of the uprising gathers at Small Gods’ Cemetery to honor the casualties with lilacs and, affectionately, one hard-boiled egg (from Madam Roberta Meserole). The seven killed were mostly Watchmen from Treacle Mine Road : John Keel, Cecil Clapman, Horace Nancyball, Billy Wiglet, Dai Dickins, Ned Coates, and, temporarily, Reg Shoe. The 25th of May is also memorialized, among those who survive, by the wearing of lilac on that date. Persons known to wear it include Sam Vimes, Fred Colon, Nobby Nobbs, Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, and, improbably, Havelock Vetinari (he, at the time a young assassin, has kept his and his aristocratic aunt Lady Roberta Meserole’s, involvement secret.

A long time ago in a galaxy far away….

May 25 2017 celebrates the 40th anniversary of the release of epic science fiction film Star Wars, which was originally released 25 May 1977. Star Wars was the first film to be released in the series. (Although Technically it is the fourth film chronologically as the events in the  prequels take place before Star Wars, however they were released sixteen years afterwards). Star Wars is also the fifth film if you count Rogue One.

Star Wars sees a young farm boy named Luke Skywalker thrust unwittingly into a Rebellion to rid the galaxy of an evil empire after acquiring two droids C3POandR2D2. The droids have escaped from a spaceship which has come under attack from Darth Vader and the evil Empire, and crash landed on the desolate planet Tattooine. Along the way He meets an old Jedi Knight named Obi Wan Kenobi and discovers that one of the droids is carrying something very important -the technical data for the Empire’s terrifying new weapon ‘The Death Star’ which is capable of destroying whole planets. Luke also learns that he has a special power and asks Obi Wan to teach him to master it. On Tattoine he also meets charismatic smuggler Han Solo and his wookiee first mate Chewbacca, who are asked to take them to the planet Alderaaan, home of Princess Leia to help mount an attack on the Death Star. However Princess Leia has been captured by the evil Empire, led by The Evil Sith Lord Emperor Palpatine and his sinister apprentice Darth Vader and taken to theDeath Star and Alderaan has been destroyed. so the rebels mount a daring rescue attempt to free Princess Leia and Luke gets swept up in the battle to destroy the Death Star

Empire Strikes Back takes place Three years later, and sees the Rebels attacked by the Empire on the ice world of Hoth and Luke traveling to find Jedi Master Yoda, who is living in exile on the swamp-infested world Dagobah, to begin his Jedi training. The Rebels manage to escape Hoth hotly pursued by the Empire. However, Luke is interrupted from his training when Vader lures him into a trap by capturing Han and the others who have journeyed to Cloud City on Bespin seeking help from Han’s old acquaintance Lando Calrissian. During a fierce lightsaber duel, Vader reveals that he is in fact Luke’s father and used to be Anakin Skywalker, and attempts to turn Luke to the dark side.

Return of the Jedi sees, Luke journeys to Tattoine to save Han from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt and then return to Yoda to complete his training. However, now over 900 years old, Yoda is on his deathbed. Before he passes away, Yoda confirms that Vader is Luke’s father; moments later, Obi-Wan’s spirit tells Luke that he must face his father before he can become a true Jedi, and that Leia is his twin sister. The Rebels then attempt to destroy a second Death Star which is being built near the forest moon of Endor and manage to pursuade the local inhabitants to help them. Meanwhile Luke confronts Vader as Palpatine watches; both Sith Lords intend to turn Luke to the dark side and take him as their apprentice. During the subsequent lightsaber duel, Luke succumbs to his anger and brutally overpowers Vader, but controls himself at the last minute; realizing that he is about to suffer his father’s fate, and he spares Vader’s life and declares his allegiance to the Jedi. An enraged Palpatine then attempts to kill Luke with Force lightning. However Darth Vader Redeems himself at the last moment, switching loyalties from the Empire to his Son, but pays the ultimate price. Subsequently Luke becomes a full-fledged Jedi, and the Rebels destroy the second Death Star.

The film series has become a worldwide pop culture phenomenon and has remained popular to this day, spawning an Expanded Universe including books, television series, computer and video games, and comic books, which have resulted in significant development of the series’ fictional universe. These media kept the franchise active in the interim between the film trilogies. In October 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion and announced that it would produce three new films, with the first film, Star Wars Episode VII, released in 2015 and the second “The Last Jedi” due December 2017. 20th Century Fox still retains the distribution rights to the first two Star Wars trilogies, owning permanent rights for the original film Episode IV: A New Hope, and holds the rights to Episodes I–III, V and VI until May 2020.

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