Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers)

StranglersHugh Cornwell lead singer with English Punk rock band the Stranglers was born 28 August. 1949 He startted his musical career in the band Johnny Sox but after reading an advertisement in the Melody Maker magazine. Cornwell joined Jet Black in The Stranglers in 1974.The Stranglers have had some 23 UK top 40 singles and 17 UK top 40 albums to date in a career spanning four decades, the Stranglers are the longest-surviving and most “continuously successful” band to have originated in the UK punk scene of the mid to late 1970s. Beginning life as the Guildford Stranglers on 11 September 1974 in Guildford, Surrey, they originally built a following within the mid-1970s pub rock scene. While their aggressive, no-compromise attitude identified them as one of the instigators of the UK punk rock scene that followed, their idiosyncratic approach rarely followed any single musical genre and the group went on to explore a variety of musical styles, from New Wave,art rock and gothic rock through the sophisticated pop of some of their 1980s output.

They had major mainstream success with their single “Golden Brown”. Their other hits include “No More Heroes”, “Peaches”, “Always the Sun” and “Skin Deep”.The Stranglers’ early sound was driven by Jean-Jacques Burnel’s melodic bass, but also gave prominence to Dave Greenfield’s keyboards at a time when the instrument was seen as unfashionable. Their early music was also characterised by the growling vocals and sometimes misanthropic lyrics of both Jean-Jacques Burnel and Hugh Cornwell. Over time, their output gradually grew more refined and sophisticated. Summing up their contribution to popular music, critic Dave Thompson later wrote: “From bad-mannered yobs to purveyors of supreme pop delicacies, the group was responsible for music that may have been ugly and might have been crude – but it was never, ever boring.”His style is usually simple and jazz-influenced, although “Duchess” and “Down in the Sewer” are examples of Stranglers songs that feature more frantic drumming. In the mid-1980s, Black elected to cease playing acoustic drums in the recording studio and used aSimmons kit triggered by pick-ups, most notably on the Feline and Aural Sculpture albums.

In 1990 Hugh Cornwell decided that the band could go no further artistically. He recorded the album 10 with the band before leaving after sixteen years. After leaving The Stranglers, Cornwell worked with Roger Cook and Andy West as CCW. Their self-titled album was released in 1992, with five tracks co-produced by Neil Davidge. Cornwell has released several solo albums including Wolf (1988) produced by Ian Ritchie, Wired (1993), Guilty (1997), Hi Fi (2000), Footprints in the Desert (2002), Mayday (2002), In the Dock (2003), and Beyond Elysian Fields (2004). Wired, Guilty and Hi Fi were released under different names, and with slightly different track listings, in the United States. Beyond Elysian Fields was initially released by Track Records in the UK, followed by Invisible Hands Music in the rest of the world, with expanded artwork. In 2006 a live album in two forms appeared: People Places Pieces, a triple CD box set, accompanied by a simultaneously released mass-market highlights disc, Dirty Dozen. The 12-track highlights disc, Live It and Breathe It, was released in 2005 in advance of the box set.

In December 2006, Cornwell toured with Blondie in the UK, and in September 2007 with Robert Williams. Three new songs were previewed, “Bangin’ On”, “Please Don’t Put Me On A Slow Boat To Trowbridge” and “Delightful Nightmare”. After this tour, the drum stool was taken over by Chris Bell, with bassist Caroline Campbell completing the current trio. In June 2008, Cornwell followed in the footsteps of Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails by offering his new album Hooverdam as a free download on his website.. The album was accompanied by a film, Blueprint, which depicted the recording process of the album. Cornwell explained that the film was partly motivated by the risible quality of DVDs accompanying contemporary CD releases. Blueprint borrows from Godard’s “Sympathy For The Devil” and Jewison’s The Thomas Crown Affair”.The film had a limited theatre release in June 2008, with Cornwell attending each screening and taking part in a Q&A session at the end of the film. In February and March 2009, with the rhythm section of Campbell and Bell, Cornwell took Hooverdam on a tour of the UK and France. On 26 June 2009 they played at the Glastonbury Festival. In late 2009, Cornwell and his band toured the US and the UK playing Both Hooverdam and Rattus Norvegicus (album) albums. In 2010, Cornwell toured the US with Steve Fishman on bass and vocals and Clem Burke from Blondie on drums. At the Mercury Lounge they were also joined onstage with Tim Wheeler. Hugh Cornwell’s solo album Totem & Taboo was released 10 September 2012.

Sir John Betjeman

Popular English poet, writer and broadcaster Sir John Betjeman, CBE was born 28 August 1906. He was a founding member of the Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture. He Started his career as a journalist, and ended it as one of the most popular British Poets Laureates and a much-loved figure on British television. Betjeman’s early schooling was at the local Byron House and Highgate School, where he was taught by the poet T. S. Eliot. After this, he boarded at the Dragon School preparatory school in North Oxford and Marlborough College, a public school in Wiltshire. In his penultimate year, he joined the secret ‘Society of Amici’ in which he was a contemporary of both Louis MacNeice and Graham Shepard. While at school, his exposure to the works of Arthur Machen won him over to High Church Anglicanism, a conversion of importance to his later writing and conception of the arts.Betjeman studied at the newly created School of English Language and Literature at Magdalen College , Oxford University ,where he dedicated most of his time to cultivating his social life, his interest in English ecclesiastical architecture, and to private literary pursuits.He also had a poem published in Isis, the university magazine and was editor of the Cherwell student newspaper during 1927. His first book of poems was privately printed with the help of fellow-student Edward James.

Betjeman left Oxford without a degree but he had made the acquaintance of people who would influence his work. After university, Betjeman worked briefly as a private secretary, school teacher and film critic for the Evening Standard. He was employed by the Architectural Review between 1930 and 1935, as a full time assistant editor, following their publishing of some of his freelance work. At this time, while his prose style matured, he joined the MARS Group, an organisation of young modernist architects and architectural critics in Britain.The Shell Guides, were developed by Betjeman and Jack Beddington, a friend who was publicity manager with Shell-Mex Ltd. The series aimed to guide Britain’s growing number of motorists around the counties of Britain and their historical sites. They were published by the Architectural Press and financed by Shell. By the start of World War II 13 had been published, of which Cornwall (1934) and Devon (1936) had been written by Betjeman. A third, Shropshire, was written with and designed by his good friend John Piper in 1951.

Upon the outbreak of World War II In 1939, Betjeman was rejected for active service but found work with the films division of the Ministry of Information. During his time he wrote a number of poems based on his experiences in “Emergency” World War II Ireland including “The Irish Unionist’s Farewell to Greta Hellstrom in 1922″ (actually written during the war) which contained the refrain “Dungarvan in the rain”. “After the war Betjaman published more work and By 1948 he had published more than a dozen books. Five of these were verse collections and The popularity of the book prompted Ken Russell to make a film about him, John Betjeman: A Poet in London which was first shown in England on BBC’s Monitor programme. He continued writing guidebooks and works on architecture during the 1960s and 1970s and started broadcasting. He was also a founder member of The Victorian Society (1958). In 1973 he made a widely acclaimed television documentary for the BBC called Metro-land, directed by Edward Mirzoeff. Betjeman was also fond of the ghost stories of M.R. James and supplied an introduction to Peter Haining’s book M.R. James – Book of the Supernatural.

Betjeman also wrote a great many poems which are often humorous and in broadcasting he exploited his bumbling and fogeyish image. His wryly comic verse is accessible and has attracted a great following for its satirical and observant grace. Betjeman s religious beliefs come through in some of his poems .Betjeman became Poet Laureate in 1972, the first Knight Bachelor ever to be appointed (the only other, Sir William Davenant, had been knighted after his appointment). This role, combined with his popularity as a television performer, ensured that his poetry eventually reached an enormous audience.Betjeman also had a fondness for Victorian architecture and was a founding member of Victorian Society and also wrote on this subject in First and Last Loves (1952) and more extensively in London’s Historic Railway Stations in 1972, defending the beauty of the twelve of London’s railway stations. He led the campaign to save Holy Trinity, Sloane Street in London when it was threatened with demolition in the early 1970s. He fought a spirited but ultimately unsuccessful campaign to save the Propylaeum, known commonly as the Euston Arch, London. He is considered instrumental in helping to save the famous façade of St Pancras railway station, London and was commemorated when it re-opened as an international and domestic terminus in November 2007. He called the plan to demolish St Pancras a “criminal folly”. ” On the re-opening St Pancras in 2007, a statue of Betjeman was commissioned from curators Futurecity. A proposal by artist Martin Jennings was selected from a shortlist. The finished work was erected in the station at platform level, including a series of slate roundels depicting selections of Betjeman’s writings.Betjeman responded to architecture as the visible manifestation of society’s spiritual life as well as its political and economic structure. He attacked speculators and bureaucrats for what he saw as their rapacity and lack of imagination.

Betjeman sadly passed away on 19 May 1984, aged 77 and is buried half a mile away in the churchyard at St Enodoc’s Church. During his life he recieved many honours including the Queen’s Medal for Poetry, CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), Companion of Literature, the Royal Society of Literature, a Knight Bachelor he was also made an Honorary Member, the American Academy of Arts in 1973 and was made poet Laureate in 1972. To commemorate Betjeman A memorial window, designed by John Piper, is set in All Saints’ Church, Farnborough, Berkshire, where Betjeman lived in the adjoining Rectory and there is also The Betjeman Millennium Park at Wantage in Oxfordshire as well as a statue of John Betjeman at St Pancras station by sculptor Martin Jennings which was unveiled in 2007. In addition The John Betjeman Young People’s Poetry Competition was inaugurated in 2006 to celebrate Betjeman’s centenary. The competition is open to 11–14 year olds living anywhere in the British Isles and the Republic of Ireland. The spirit behind the competition is to encourage young people to understand and appreciate the importance of place.

Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire)

Sarah Neufeld, Canadian violinist (Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre) was born 27 August 1979. Arcade Fire are based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, consisting of husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, along with Will Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury, Jeremy Gara, and Sarah Neufeld. The band came to prominence in 2004 with the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Funeral.

Arcade Fire have won numerous awards, including the 2011 Grammy for Album of the Year (they hold the distinction of being the only musical group to have won their first and only Grammy in that category), the 2011 Juno Award for Album of the Year, and the 2011 Brit Award for Best International Album for their third studio album, The Suburbs, released in 2010 to critical acclaim and commercial success. They also won the 2008 meteor Music Award for Best International Album and the 2008 Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year for their second studio album, Neon Bible. They have also received nominations for the Best Alternative Music Album Grammy for all three of their studio albums.

The band’s work has also been twice named as a short list nominee for the Polaris Music Prize in 2007 for Neon Bible and in 2011 for The Suburbs, winning the award for The Suburbs. The band plays guitar, drums, bass guitar, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass,xylophone, glockenspiel, keyboard, French horn, accordion, harp, mandolin, and hurdy-gurdy, and take most of these instruments on tour; the multi-instrumentalist band members switch duties throughout shows.

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Glen Matlock (The Sex Pistols)

Best known for being bass guitarist in the original line-up of the punk rock band the Sex Pistols, Musician Glen Matlock Was born 27 August 1956. He is credited as a co-author on 10 of the 12 songs on Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, although he had left the band by the time the record was released and was replaced by Sid Vicious. Matlock attended Saint Martin’s School of Art until 1974. He was the original bass player of the Sex Pistols, having been introduced to guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook while working in SEX, Malcolm McLaren’s clothing boutique in London.

The Sex Pistols formed in London in 1975 and were responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians. Although their initial career lasted just two-and-a-half years and produced only four singles and one studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, they are regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music. The Sex Pistols evolved from The Strand, a London band formed in 1972 with working-class teenagers Steve Jones on vocals, Paul Cook on drums, and Wally Nightingale on guitar. According to a later account by Jones, both he and Cook played on instruments they had stolen. vocalist Johnny Rotten joined soon after In August 1975, when he was spotted wearing a Pink Floyd T-shirt with the words I Hate handwritten above the band’s name and holes scratched through the eyes.The line-up was completed by guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook and bassist Glen Matlock.

Under the management of impresario Malcolm McLaren, the band provoked controversies that captivated Britain. Their behaviour, as much as their music, brought them national attention and their concerts repeatedly faced difficulties with organizers and authorities, and public appearances often ended in mayhem. Their 1977 single “God Save the Queen”, attacking Britons’ social conformity and deference to the Crown, precipitated the “last and greatest outbreak of pop-based moral pandemonium”.Since the spring of 1977, the three senior Sex Pistols had also been returning to the studio periodically with Chris Thomas to lay down the tracks for the band’s debut album. Initially to be called God Save Sex Pistols, it became known during the summer as Never Mind the Bollocks. In January 1978, after a turbulent tour of the United States, Rotten left the band and announced its break-up. Over the next several months, the three other band members recorded songs for McLaren’s film version of the Sex Pistols’ story, The Great Rofck ‘n’ Roll Swindle. Vicious died of a heroin overdose in February 1979. In 1996, Rotten, Jones, Cook and Matlock reunited for the Filthy Lucre Tour; since 2002, they have staged further reunion shows and tours. Matlock continues to make his own records and tour with various bands, including the Sex Pistols.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

imageI enjoy reading Exciting Scandinavian crime novels (Jo Nesbo, Jussi Adler Olson, Stieg Larsson) and would like to read The Girl in the Spider’s Web (original title in Swedish: Det som inte dödar oss, “That Which Does Not Kill Us”). the highly anticipated adrenaline charged fourth installment in the Millennium series of novels, after The Girl Who Kicked the HornetsNest.Written by David Lagercrantz, it is the first in the series not to be authored by creator Stieg Larsson, who died of a heart attack in 2004. The novel was released worldwide on 27 August 2015, and will be released 1 September 2015 in the United States.

The novel once again features antisocial Genius Goth hacker Lisbeth Salander and crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist who join forces to fight injustice. This time a dangerous new threat is revealed, after Blomkvist receives a phone call from a trusted source claiming to have information vital to the United States. Mikael then meets this potential source in a bar to discuss the matter which concerns technology and corporate espionage, but then his interest is suddenly piqued when the source mentions that he has been in contact with a young female super hacker—a hacker resembling someone Blomkvist knows all too well.

Blomkvist, meanwhile is currently battling against the money-driven evisceration of Millennium, the magazine he loves, and is in desperate need of a scoop for Millennium, so he turns to Lisbeth for help. Then he learns that a world-renowned Swedish computer scientist, a verifiable genius, has seemingly abandoned his work and boarded himself up in his home wants to talk to Blomkvist. However he is attacked before they can meet. His work has disappeared, and the only witness is an autistic child, who now becomes the target of a shadowy criminal organisation. Blonqvist then faces a race against time, along the way He encounters many hazards including the NSA, who see spying on everyone as the way to protect their country’s interests, Eastern European gangsters, Swedish authorities, and dangerous figures from Salander’s own past.

Charles Rolls (Rolls Royce)

Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Roadster
Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Roadster

English engineer, businessman,and co-founder of Rolls-Royce Limited Charles Rolls, was born 27 August 1877. He was intorduced to Henry Royce at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on 4 May 1904 . Royce first started an electrical and mechanical business and made his first car, a two-cylinder Royce 10, in his Manchester factory in 1904, and of that year. Rolls was proprietor of an early motor car dealership, C.S.Rolls & Co. in Fulham. In spite of his preference for three or four cylinder cars, Rolls was impressed with the Royce 10, and in a subsequent agreement of 23 December 1904 agreed to take all the cars Royce could make. All would be badged as Rolls-Royces, and be sold exclusively by Rolls.The first Rolls-Royce car, the Rolls-Royce 10 hp, was unveiled at the Paris Salon in December 1904.

RollsRoyce_BYL231Rolls-Royce Limited was formed on 15 March 1906, by which time it was apparent that new premises were required for production of cars. After considering sites in Manchester, Coventry, Bradford and Leicester, they moved to Derby. The new factory was largely designed by Royce, and production began in early 1908, with a formal opening on 9 July 1908 by Sir John Montagu. During 1906 Royce had been developing an improved six-cylinder model with more power than the 30hp. Initially designated the 40/50 hp, this was the company’s first all-new model. In March 1908 Claude Johnson, Commercial Managing Director and sometimes described as the hyphen in Rolls-Royce,succeeded in persuading Royce and the other directors that Rolls-Royce should concentrate exclusively on the new model, and all the earlier models were duly discontinued. After the First World War, Rolls-Royce successfully avoided attempts to encourage the British car manufacturers to merge

Faced with falling sales of the 40/50 (later known as Silver Ghost) the company introduced the smaller, cheaper Twenty in 1922, effectively ending the one-model policy followed since 1908. After the introduction of the Phantom model in 1925 this 40/50 model was referred to as the Silver Ghost. The new 40/50 was responsible for the company’s early reputation with over 6,000 built. In 1921, the company opened a second factory in Springfield, Massachusetts in the United States (to help meet demand), where a further 1,701 “Springfield Ghosts” were built. This factory operated for 10 years, closing in 1931. Its chassis was used as a basis for the first British armoured car used in both world wars.In 1931 Rolls-Royce acquired the much smaller rival car maker Bentley after the latter’s finances failed to weather the onset of the Great Depression. From soon after World War II until 2002 standard Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars were often identical apart from the radiator grille and minor details.In 1933, the colour of the Rolls-Royce radiator monogram was changed from red to black because the red sometimes clashed with the coachwork colour selected by clients, and not as a mark of respect for the passing of Royce as is commonly stated.

Rolls-Royce and Bentley car production moved to Crewe in 1946 where they began to assemble complete cars with bodies from the Pressed Steel Company (the new standard steel models) for the first time. Previously they had built only the chassis, leaving the bodies to specialist coach-builders. Rolls-Royce also started to produce diesel engines in 1951. Initially, these were intended for heavy tractors and earth-movers but, later, they were installed in lorries (e.g. Scammell), railcars, diesel multiple units and Sentinel shunting locomotives. Rolls-Royce took over Sentinel’s Shrewsbury factory for diesel engine production in 1956. The Rolls-Royce diesel business was acquired by Perkins in the 1980s. In 1971, Rolls-Royce was crippled by the costs of developing the advanced RB211 jet engine, resulting in the nationalization of the company as Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited. In 1973, the car division was separated from the parent company as Rolls-Royce Motors. Rolls Royce also made Torque converters and railcar engines were often used with Twin Disc torque converters which were built by Rolls-Royce under licence from Twin Disc of the USA. “Twin Disc” is the name of the company (which originally manufactured friction clutches) and does not describe the construction of the torque converter.

Sadly in 1971 Financial problems caused largely by development of the new RB211 turbofan engine led – after several cash subsidies – to the company being nationalised by the government. (Delay in production of the RB211 engine has been blamed for the failure of the technically advanced Lockheed TriStar, which was beaten to launch by its chief competitor, the Douglas DC-10. In 1973 the motor car business was spun off as a separate entity, Rolls-Royce Motors. The main business of aircraft and marine engines remained in public ownership until 1987, when it was privatised as Rolls-Royce plc, one of many privatisations of the Thatcher government. Since then Rolls Royce has been bought by BMW and Bentley by Volkswagen.

Alex Lifeson (Rush)

rush-snakes-arrows-cd-51893Alex Lifeson the guitarist with progressive Rock bands Rush and Big Dirty Band, was born 27 August 1953. Rush were formed in August 1968, in the Willowdale neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario. The band is composed of bassist, keyboardist, and lead vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist and backing vocalist Alex Lifeson, and drummer, percussionist and lyricist Neil Peart. The band and its membership went through a number of re-configurations between 1968 and 1974, Neil Peart replaced original drummer John Rutsey in July 1974, two weeks before the group’s first United States tour, during which they played Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, which also became Rush s very first radio broadcast and the concert is featured on the Album “ABC 1974″Since The release of the band’s self-titled debut album in March 1974, Rush have become known for their musicianship, complex compositions, and eclectic lyrical motifs drawing heavily on science fiction, fantasy, and philosophy. Rush’s music style has changed over the years, beginning with blues-inspired heavy metal on their first album, then encompassing hard rock, progressive rock, and a period with heavy use of synthesizers.

Rush-Clockwork-Angels-They have been cited as an influence by various musical artists, including Metallica Primus, and The Smashing Pumpkins, as well as progressive metal bands such as Dream Theater and Symphony X.Rush have also won a number of Juno Awards, and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994. Over their careers, the members of Rush have been acknowledged as some of the most proficient players on their respective instruments, with each band member winning numerous awards in magazine readers’ polls. As a group, Rush possesses 24 gold records and 14 platinum (3 multi-platinum) records. Rush’s sales statistics place them third behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band. Rush also ranks 79th in U.S. album sales, with 25 million units. Although total worldwide album sales are not calculated by any single entity, as of 2004 several industry sources estimated Rush’s total worldwide album sales at over 40 million units. Their latest studio album, Clockwork Angels was released 2012. It was first album in five years since, 2007’s “SNAKES & ARROWS.” and is the band’s 20th studio album and they also toured during Autumn 2012.