William Blake

506px-William_Blake_003English painter,poet and printmaker William Blake was born 28 November 1757 at 28 Broad Street (now Broadwick St.) in Soho, London.He attended school only long enough to learn reading and writing, leaving at the age of ten, and was otherwise educated at home by his mother Catherine Wright Armitage Blake. He was baptised on 11 December at St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London. Blake started engraving copies of drawings of Greek antiquities purchased for him by his father, a practice that was preferred to actual drawing. Within these drawings Blake found his first exposure to classical forms through the work of Raphael, Michelangelo, Maarten van Heemskerck and Albrecht Dürer. When William was ten years old, he was enrolled in drawing classes at Pars’s drawing school in the Strand. He read avidly on subjects of his own choosing. During this period, Blake made explorations into poetry; his early work displays knowledge of Ben Jonson, Edmund Spenser, and the Psalms. In 1772, Blake was apprenticed to engraver James Basire of Great Queen Street, at the sum of £52.10, for a term of seven years. At the end of the term, aged 21, he became a professional engraver.

On 8 October 1779, Blake became a student at the Royal Academy in Old Somerset House, near the Strand Where he became a friend of John Flaxman, Thomas Stothard and George Cumberland and shared radical views, with Stothard and Cumberland joining the Society for Constitutional Information. In 1782 Blake met his future wife Catherine Boucher and married her on 18 August 1782 in St Mary’s Church, Battersea. Blake’s first collection of poems, Poetical Sketches, was printed around 1783.After his father’s death, Blake and former fellow apprentice James Parker opened a print shop in 1784, and began working with radical publisher Joseph Johnson, whose house was a meeting-place for some leading English intellectual dissidents of the time: theologian and scientist Joseph Priestley, philosopher Richard Price, artist John Henry Fuseli, early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and Anglo-American revolutionary Thomas Paine. Along with William Wordsworth and William Godwin. In 1784 Blake composed his unfinished manuscript An Island in the Moon.Blake illustrated Original Stories from Real Life (1788; 1791) by Mary Wollstonecraft and in 1793’s Visions of the Daughters of Albion, Blake condemned the cruel absurdity of enforced chastity and marriage without love and defended the right of women to complete self-fulfilmenti

In 1788, aged 31, Blake experimented with relief etching, a method he used to produce most of his books, paintings, pamphlets and Blake used this process for most of his well-known works, including Songs of Innocence and of Experience, The Book of Thel, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Jerusalem. Although Blake has become most famous for his relief etching, his commercial work largely consisted of intaglio engraving, the standard process of engraving in the 18th century in which the artist incised an image into the copper plate, a complex and laborious process.examples of Blake’s intaglio engraving include illustrations of the Book of Job.In 1800, Blake moved to a cottage at Felpham, in Sussex (now West Sussex), to take up a job illustrating the works of William Hayley, a minor poet. It was in this cottage that Blake began work on Milton. Blake had trouble with authority which came to a head in August 1803, when he was involved in a physical altercation with a soldier, John Schofield and was charged not only with assault, but with uttering seditious and treasonable expressions against the king. Blake returned to London in 1804 and began to write and illustrate Jerusalem (1804–20), his most ambitious work. Having conceived the idea of portraying the characters in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. In 1818 he was introduced to a group of artists who called themselves the Shoreham Ancients. The group shared Blake’s rejection of modern trends and his belief in a spiritual and artistic New Age.

Aged 65, Blake’s last years were spent at Fountain Court off the Strand where he began work on illustrations for the Book of Job and was then commissioned to do a series of engravings to illustrate Dante’s Divine Comedy in 1826. Sadly though Blake died 12 August 1827 and only a handful of watercolours were completed. Despite being Largely unrecognised during his lifetime and considered mad by his contempories for his idiosyncratic views, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His paintings and poetry have been characterised as part of the Romantic movement and “Pre-Romantic” and he was placed at number 38 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.

Karen Gillan (Doctor Who/Guardians of the Galaxy)

imageBest known for her portrayal of Amy Pond in Doctor Who, the Scottish actress and, former model, Karen Sheila Gillan was born 28 November 1987. She learned to play the piano when she was seven & developed a love for acting, joining several local youth theatre groups and taking part in a wide range of productions at her school,Charleston Academy. When she turned 16, Gillan moved to Edinburgh and completed an HNC Acting and Performance course at Telford College She then moved to London at 18 to study at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts drama school in the BA (Hons) Acting degree course. While studying at Italia Conti Gillan was scouted by a modelling agency. Gillan worked as a model in 2007’s London Fashion Week for designer Allegra Hicks’ autumn/winter catwalk show and the launch party of Nicola Roberts’ Dainty Doll Make-Up Range. Gillan has said she would not give up her acting career to return to modelling. She stated that she enjoyed modelling but acting was always her main interest and goal.

Gillan’s early television acting career included guest appearances on several drama series, she also appeared onThe Kevin Bishop Show portraying multiple characters, as well as celebrities such as Katy Perry and Angelina Jolie. She appeared in Channel 4’s Stacked and the BBC2 Horror series The Well, which was later broadcast as a web series on BBC.co.uk. She was cast for the role of the Eleventh Doctor’s first companion, Amy Pond, on the British sci-fi series Doctor Who in May 2009. She made her first on-screen appearance as Amy Pond in “The Eleventh Hour” with her cousin Caitlin Blackwood portraying a young Amelia (Amy) Pond. Gillan also appeared in the “The Fires of Pompeii” in the role of a Soothsayer.

drWho0Gillan made her first theatre appearance playing the role of Shirley in John Osborne’s play Inadmissible Evidence along with Douglas Hodge The play debuted at the Donmar Warehouse on 16 October 2011. She appeared in the seventh series of Doctor Who until leaving in 2012 .On 26 January 2012, Karen Gillan played the part of supermodel Jean Shrimpton in the BBC Four film We’ll Take Manhattan, which told the story of Shrimpton’s relationship with the photographer David Bailey. Gillan also starred in a Scottish rom-com called Not Another Happy Ending alongside Emun Elliott. Which was directed by John McKay and a supernatural horror pic called Oculus cast in the lead role and filmed in Alabama. She revealed that she has been cast in comedian Charlie Brooker’s TV series A Touch of Cloth. Gillan has also been cast in a film titled ‘ The List ‘ which began filming in Los Angeles in May 2013.FHM magazine ranked Gillan #42 in FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women 2011 In 2012 they also ranked her #36. Gillan has also voiced advertisements for eHarmony and The Royal Bank of Scotland. Gillan portrayed Nebula in the superhero science fiction film Guardians of the Galaxy. She also joined the regular cast of Adult Swim’s NTSF:SD:SUV:: for the show’s third season in 2013 and in 2011, She helped promote Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC) and the opening of Squirrel Ward in Great Ormond Street Hospital

P.D. James OBE FRSA FRSL (Baroness James of Holland Park)

Prolific English Crime Novelist P.D.James OBE, FRSA, FRSL (Baroness James of Holland Park), sadly died at her home in Oxford on 27 November 2014, aged 94. Born 3 August 1920 in Oxford. She was educated at the British School in Ludlow and Cambridge High School for Girls. She had to leave school at the age of sixteen to work because her family did not have much money and her father did not believe in higher education for girls. She worked in a tax office for three years and later found a job as an assistant stage manager for a theatre group. In 1941, she married Ernest Connor Bantry White, an army doctor. They had two daughters, Clare and Jane. When White returned from World War II, he was badly affected by Post traumatic stress disorder, and James was forced to provide for the whole family until her husband’s death in 1964. James studied hospital administration and from 1949 to 1968 worked for a hospital board in London.

She began writing in the mid-1950s. Her first novel, Cover Her Face, featuring investigator and poet Adam Dalgliesh of New Scotland Yard, (named after a teacher at Cambridge High School), was published in 1962.Many of James’s mystery novels take place against the backdrop of UK bureaucracies, such as the criminal justice system and the National Health Service, in which she worked for decades starting in the 1940s. Two years after the publication of Cover Her Face, James’s husband died, and she took a position as a civil servant within the criminal section of the Home Office. She worked in government service until her retirement in 1979. The final Dalgleish novel was The Private Patient.

In 1991, James was made a life peer as Baroness James of Holland Park and sat in the House of Lords as a Conservative. She was an Anglican and a lay patron of the Prayer Book Society. Her 2001 work, Death in Holy Orders, displays her familiarity with the inner workings of church hierarchy. Her later novels were often set in a community closed in some way, such as a publishing house or barristers’ chambers, a theological college, an island or a private clinic.

She was also guest editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in December 2009 and conducted an interview with the Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, in which she seemed critical of some of his decisions. Regular Today presenter Evan Davis commented that “She shouldn’t be guest editing; she should be permanently presenting the programme. In 2008, she was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame at the inaugural ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards. James was also one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter opposing Scottish independence during the run up to the referendum. She is survived by her two daughters, Clare and Jane, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Many of James’s mystery novels have also been adapted for television Featuring Roy Marsden as Adam Dalgliesh including Death in Holy Orders in 2003, and The Murder Room in 2004, both as one-off dramas starring Martin Shaw as Dalgliesh. Her novel The Children of Men (1992) was the basis for the feature film Children of Men (2006), directed by Alfonso Cuarón which starred Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine.

Jimi Hendrix

jimi_hendrix (1)Considered to be the greatest guitarist in popular music, The late great James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix) was born on this date November 27, at Seattle’s King County Hospital, in 1942. He is Widely hailed by music fans and critics alike as the greatest electric guitarist of all time, and remains the most influential rock guitarist and songwriter in recording history. He was influenced by blues artists such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Albert King and Elmore James, rhythm, blues and soul guitarists Curtis Mayfield and Steve Cropper, and the jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery.Hendrix was mostly self-taught on the guitar. He was ambidextrous but chose to play the guitar upside-down and re-strung for playing left-handed, which suggests that he was more comfortable left-handed. As a guitarist, he built upon the innovations of blues stylists such as B.B. King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, T-Bone Walker, and Muddy Waters, as well as those of rhythm and blues and soul music guitarists such as Curtis Mayfield.

Hendrix’s music was also influenced by jazz; he often cited Rahsaan Roland Kirk as his favourite musician. In addition, Hendrix extended the tradition of rock guitar; although previous guitarists, such as The Kinks’ Dave Davies, Jeff Beck, and The Who’s Pete Townshend, had employed techniques such as feedback, distortion and other effects as sonic tools,Hendrix was able to exploit them to a previously undreamed-of extent, and made them an integral part of his own private, unique genre, which he called “Red”. The Hendrix sound combined high volume and high power, feedback manipulation, and a range of cutting-edge guitar effects, especially the UniVibe-Octavia combination, which can be heard to full effect on the Band of Gypsies’ live version of “Machine Gun”. He was also known for his trick playing, which included playing with only his right (fretting) hand, using his teeth or playing behind his back, although he soon grew tired of audience demands to perform these tricks.

As a record producer, Hendrix was an innovator in using the recording studio as an extension of his musical ideas. Hendrix was notably one of the first to experiment with stereo effects during the recording process. Hendrix was also an accomplished songwriter whose compositions have been performed by countless artists. At Woodstock, Larry Lee was a member of Hendrix’ Band of Gypsies, and also played a Gibson Les Paul Studio model and sung with Hendrix as well.During his lifetime Hendrix won many of the most prestigious rock music awards, and has been posthumously awarded many more, including being inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. An English Heritage blue plaque was erected in his name on his former residence at Brook Street, London, in September 1997. A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (at 6627 Hollywood Blvd.) was dedicated in 1994. In 2006, his debut US album, Are You Experienced, was inducted into the United States National Recording Registry, and in 2003 Rolling Stone Magazine named Hendrix the top guitarist on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all-time.


Mike Bordin (Faith no More)

Mike Bordin, the drummer with Faith No More who was born 27th November in 1962. Faith No More hail from San Francisco, California, and were regarded as one of the most influential metal/rock bands of the late 80s and early 90s, and credited for inventing alternative metal and as an influence on nu metal.It was formed originally as Faith No Man in 1981 by bassist Billy Gould, keyboardist Wade Worthington, vocalist M Morris, and drummer Mike Bordin.A year later when Worthington was replaced by keyboardist Roddy Bottum, who along with Gould and Bordin, formed Faith No More. After going through a series of singers which included Courtney Love, the band was joined by Chuck Mosley in 1983. The same year, Jim Martin was recruited to replace guitarist Mark Bowen. Faith No More underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album, We Care a Lot, in 1985. Within a year the band signed up with Slash Records, and in 1987 their second album Introduce Yourself was released. Membership remained stable until vocalist Mosley was replaced by Mike Patton in 1988. In 1989, the band released their highly successful album, The Real Thing, which featured the songs“Epic, Falling To Pieces, From Out of Nowhere and Small Victory.

The band’s next album, 1992′s Angel Dust, was also highly successful and spawned the hit Midlife Crisis, , which became their sole #1 hit on the Modern Rock Tracks chart in their career. Angel Dust is widely considered to be one of the most influential albums of the 90′s. Faith No More however declined in popularity in the subsequent years. Longtime guitarist Jim Martin left the group in 1994 and was replaced by Mr. Bungle guitarist Trey Spruance. After the release of their next album, 1995′s King for a Day… Fool for a Lifetime, Spruance was replaced briefly by Dean Menta, who would eventually be replaced by their current guitarist Jon Hudson. After releasing one more album, Album of the Year, in 1997, Faith No More broke up in April 1998, and all members began work on side projects.

On February 24, 2009, Faith No More announced that they would be reforming for a European tour with the same lineup at the time of their breakup.In June 2009, they performed together for the first time in eleven years at the Brixton Academy in London, United Kingdom, as part of their The Second Coming Tour. Throughout 2010, the band continued to perform at multiple live venues. In September 2010, the band announced that the reunion tour would come to an end in December and plans for a new album had been scrapped, although bassist Billy Gould has said recently that the band might continue. Faith No More returned again in November 14th 2011 at the SWU Music and Arts Festival, in the Brazilian city of Paulínia, as well on three other dates. Trey Spruance joined the band onstage for the very first time to perform the King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime album in its entirety in Santiago, Chile in November 2011. The latest Faith no More album Sol Invictus was released in 2015.


Charlie Burchill (Simple Minds)

Charlie Burchill guitarist and keyboard player with Scottish rock band Simple Minds was Born 27th November 1959. Simple Minds achieved worldwide popularity from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s and continue to tour in the new millennium.The band produced a number of critically acclaimed albums in the early 1980s and best known for their No. 1 hit single “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, from the soundtrack of the John Hughes film The Breakfast Club. They are also known for the No. 3 US hit single “Alive and Kicking” and the No. 1 UK hit single “Belfast Child”. In 1986, the band was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Group.

The band has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide, among them are New Gold Record andOnce Upon a TimeThe core of the band is the two remaining founder members – Jim Kerr (vocals, songwriting) and Charlie Burchill (guitars, keyboards after 1990, other instruments, songwriting) – and drummer Mel Gaynor (who first joined the band in 1982). The other current band members are Andy Gillespie (keyboards) and Ged Grimes (bass guitar). Significant former members include bass guitarist Derek Forbes and keyboard player Michael MacNeil (the latter credited as a significant band composer during the band’s rise in the 1980′s. Their latest Album Big Music was released in 2014.

Ada Lovelace

The Analyst, Metaphysician, and Founder of Scientific Computing, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace Sadly passed away on November 27, 1852, in Marylebone at the age of 37, from Cancer. Born Augusta Ada Byron on 10th December 1815. She was the daughter of Lord Byron and is remembered as a mathematician and writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine. Because of this, she is often considered the world’s first computer programmer and left a legacy as role model for young women entering technology careers.Ada was the only legitimate child born to the poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Byron). She had no relationship with her father, who separated from her mother just a month after Ada was born, and four months later he left England forever and died in Greece in 1823 leaving her mother to raise her single-handedly, Her life was an apotheosis of struggle between emotion and reason, subjectivism and objectivism, poetics and mathematics, ill health and bursts of energy.

Lady Byron wished her daughter to be unlike her poetic father, and she saw to it that Ada received tutoring in mathematics and music, as disciplines to counter dangerous poetic tendencies. But Ada’s complex inheritance became apparent as early as 1828, when she produced the design for a flying machine. As a young adult, she took an interest in mathematics, and in particular that of Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge, Charles Babbage whom she met met in 1833, when she was just 17, who was One of the gentlemanly scientists of the era and become Ada’s lifelong friend. Babbage, was known as the inventor of the Difference Engine, an elaborate calculating machine that operated by the method of finite differences , and they began a voluminous correspondence on the topics of mathematics, logic, and ultimately all subjects.

In 1835, Ada married William King, ten years her senior, and when King inherited a noble title in 1838, they became the Earl and Countess of Lovelace. Ada had three children. The family and its fortunes were very much directed by Lady Byron, whose domineering was rarely opposed by King. Babbage had made plans in 1834 for a new kind of calculating machine (although the Difference Engine was not finished), an Analytical Engine. His Parliamentary sponsors refused to support a second machine with the first unfinished, but Babbage found sympathy for his new project abroad. In 1842, an Italian mathematician, Louis Menebrea, published a memoir in French on the subject of the Analytical Engine. Babbage enlisted Ada as translator for the memoir, and during a nine-month period in 1842-43, she worked feverishly on the article and a set of Notes she appended to it. These notes contain what is considered the first computer program — that is, an algorithm encoded for processing by a machine. Ada’s notes are important in the early history of computers. She also foresaw the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching while others, including Babbage himself, focused only on these capabilities

Ada called herself an Analyst (& Metaphysician), and the combination was put to use in the Notes. She understood the plans for the device as well as Babbage but was better at articulating its promise. She rightly saw it as what we would call a general-purpose computer. It was suited for “developing and tabulating any function whatever. . . the engine is the material expression of any indefinite function of any degree of generality and complexity.” Her Notes anticipated future developments, including computer-generated music. Her contributions to science and fascination for Babbage’s Difference Engine earned her the nickname “Enchantress of Numbers.”