The Art of the Hobbit

As part of next year celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, a book containing  a set of wonderful illustrations, drawings, watercolours and sketches by JRR Tolkien himself, is being published. containing many drawings which have never been seen before because they have only recently been digitised.

originally The Hobbit included around 20 illustrations by the author, as well as the well-known dust jacket painting of the mountains which Bilbo Baggins and the Company of Dwarves pass through on thier adventures. However Tolkien had actually created more than 100 illustrations, which until recently had been buried in his archive at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. and have only recently come to light. These illustrations show that Tolkien was an accomplished amateur artist.

Ranging from line drawings in ink to watercolours and sketches, The book also includes conceptual sketches for the cover design, a couple of early versions of the maps and pages where he’s experimenting with the runic forms, as well as a couple of manuscript pages, these show that Tolkien’s creativity went beyond the writing, and that Middle Earth was a fully thought out concept,  which all makes his descriptions more vivid.

Although The Hobbit was first published in September 1937, Tolkien delivered the manuscript to his publishers in October 1936, so HarperCollins feels justified in kicking off its anniversary celebrations early. New editions of the novel itself are also lined up for publication this month. The publisher hopes to bring attention back to The Hobbit in advance of the much-anticipated release of Peter Jackson’s film next year.

The collected drawings will be published on 27th October as The Art of the Hobbit, and HarperCollins hopes the collection and the anniversary will shed new light on the fantasy author and his first novel.

Facebook Disconnect

Facebook’s reassurances about its privacy policies don’t seem to have calmed people’s fears of the internet giant – as users flock to shield their browsing histories from its all-seeing eye.

Facebook openly admits to tracking your use of other websites while you are logged in to the site. But the site’s attempts to reassure people that its use of their web browsing information is innocent don’t seem to have had the desired effect.
Facebook Disconnect – a browser extension which prevents Facebook ‘seeing’ which other sites you visit online – has been downloaded 152,000 times.
The software works in Google’s Chrome browser and automatically blocks web traffic between other sites and Facebook, so the social network can no longer ‘look at’ your browsing history.

‘Facebook is notified whenever you visit one of the more than one million sites on the web that use Facebook Connect and has a history of leaking personally identifiable information to third parties,’ says the official Facebook Disconnect page. ‘Turn off the flow of your data to them!’
Privacy advocates have voiced concerns that the information could be used for ‘targeted advertising’ in worrying ways.

Unless you take steps yourself, the social network watches most websites you visit while logged in. Facebook’s own ‘privacy’ pages are largely targeted towards protecting your data from other people – not from the social network itself.

Users seem delighted with Facebook Disconnect, even though it blocks some functions of Facebook such as photo links.One user commented, ‘Keep your data private folks! The tools are there to keep your browser safe, use them.’

The extension has been such a hit that its creators have unveiled an upgraded version, entitled Disconnect, which also protects users against tracking from Google and Twitter. Disconnect also works in Apple’s Safari browser and Mozilla’s Firefox.

Google in particular has access to a huge amount of information from its users, from the contents of Gmail emails to web browsing history to the videos they watch and upload on YouTube.

‘If you’re a typical web user, you’re unintentionally sending your browsing history with your name and other personal information to third parties whenever you’re online,’ the company says

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher announced in July that he intended to release two solo albums. His first album High Flying Birds has recently gone straight to number one in the Charts, whereas the album by Liam’s Band Beady Eye – “Different Gear Still Speeding” reached number three in the charts.

The follow up to High Flying Birds will be an 18-track collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous and would be more “out there”. It will be released in 2012, he said. All this success seems to suggest that the chances of doing a 20th Anniversary reunion of “What’s the Story Morning Glory” as hinted at by Liam recently, are becoming increasingly remote.

RUSH – ABC 1974

I am a big fan of Prog Rock Band RUSH having got Moving Pictures, Snakes and Arrows and Hold Your Fire. So I would also like to get RUSH ABC 1974 which contains the First American broadcast from RUSH’s Concert at the Agora Ballroom, Cleveland from 26th August 1974

The history of the ever mighty Rush goes back to 1968 when the group first got together, but it was not until 1974 that the band proper with Neal Peart joining Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson to make for the line-up we have known and loved ever since

Neil Peart only joined the band two weeks before this American jaunt during which the guys played the infamous Agora Ballroom, Cleveland – a venue at which the group would go onto play numerous more shows during their formative years. At their 1974 booking however, radio station WMMS radio was on hand to broadcast the whole event across the airwaves and thus make this particular gig a somewhat notorious event as well as being Rush s very first radio broadcast.

The set played by the group that hot August evening in America s dark industrial underbelly, includes songs from their debut album, Rush, and features two early versions of cuts from Fly by Night. The show also contained a cover of Larry Williams Bad Boy a 1950s rocker, plus two excellent tracks that have never been released on any previous Rush release; the super-rare Fancy Dancer and Garden Road.

The album also contains three bonus tracks from their second US broadcast at the ABC a year later, again courtesy of their by then long time champions, WMMR Cleveland. These songs all originated on Fly By Night

  • Finding My Way 
  • The Best I Can 
  • Need Some Love 
  • In The End 
  • Fancy Dancer 
  • In The Mood 
  • Bad Boy 
  • Here Again 
  • Working Man 
  • Drum Solo 
  • What You’re Doing 
  • Garden Road 
  • Anthem 
  • Beneath, Between & Behind 
  • Fly By Night

Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto

Being a big fan of Coldplay, I decided to get their fifth studio album which is entitled Mylo Xyloto, and is being released on 24th October. I think the title sounds a bit like an Aztec God and When asked about the meaning of the title, the band said it did not mean anything although the Latin derivations of “Mylo” tend to suggest that it is about something falling apart, and xylotomous or xylotomy  refer to insects or organisms that are able to cut or bore into wood in order to eat it,  A Xylotomist is also something which cuts or pierces wood. Anyway, Having heard the album I like the songs Every Teardrop is a Waterfall, Princess of China Hurts like Heaven and Paradise.

Xylo Myloto  could also refer to wooden furniture which is falling apart because woodworm are boring into it and eating it  lol 😀

“Mylo Xyloto” 
“Hurts Like Heaven” 
“Paradise” 
“Charlie Brown” 
“Us Against the World” 
“M.M.I.X.” 
“Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” 
“Major Minus” 
“U.F.O.” 
“Princess of China” (featuring Rihanna)
“Up in Flames” 
“A Hopeful Transmission” 
“Don’t Let It Break Your Heart” 
“Up with the Birds”

Boldly going where no singer has ever been before…

…and will hopefully never go again 😀  Recently I found out that Star Trek actor William Shatner (A.K.A Captain Kirk) has done a whole load of cover versions of some great songs. (Well they were great  until he got hold of them) I  thought they were all hilarious, so I decided to share them with you.