Posted in Uncategorized

Tribute to Davy Jones

Davy Jones, the British-born lead singer of 1960s pop group The Monkees, recently  died at the age of 66 in America. Medical officials in Florida did not comment on the cause of death, but a spokesman for the star said he had suffered a heart attack.

From 1965 to 1971, Jones was the lead singer of The Monkees a pop-rock group formed expressly for a television show of the same name. As a Monkee, Jones sang lead vocals on many of the group’s songs, including “I Wanna Be Free”, “Daydream Believer”, Last Train to Clarksville and I’m A Believer. The band consisted of members Davy Jones  Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, who after being put together to star in their self-titled TV show sold millions of records.   After the Monkees went off the air in the 70’s, the group disbanded. However, Jones continued to perform solo, while later joining with fellow Monkee Micky Dolenz and songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart as a short-lived group called Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. He also toured throughout the years with other members as various incarnations of the Monkees.

In 1978, he appeared with Micky Dolenz in Harry Nilsson’s play The Point at the Mermaid Theatre in London. Jones continued acting as he appeared in one episode of The Brady Bunch, two episodes of My Two Dads, an episode of Here Come the Brides, and two episodes of Love, American Style. He also appeared and sang, in animated form, on an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies and in an episode of Hey Arnold. Also, Jones made a cameo appearance as himself in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode “SpongeBob vs. The Big One” (his appearance was meant to be a pun on Davy Jones’ Locker), a third-season episode of the sitcom Boy Meets World and the Brady Bunch spoof movie of The Brady Bunch Movie. In 1997 he guest-starred as himself on the television show Sabrina the Teenage Witch and sang “Daydream Believer” to Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart).   In later years, Jones performed with his former bandmates in reunion tours and appeared in several productions of Oliver! as Fagin. He continued to race horses with some success in his native England, while residing in Beavertown, Pennsylvania. He owned and raced horses in the United States and served as a commercial spokesman for Colonial Downs racetrack in Virginia. In 2007, Jones recorded the theme for a campy movie comedy called Sexina: Popstar PI.   In December 2008, Yahoo Music named Jones “Number 1 teen idol of all time”. In 2009 Jones was rated second in a list of 10 best teen idols compiled by Fox News.[10]   In 2009, Jones released an album entitled “She” which is a collection of handpicked classics and standards from the 1940s through the 1970s. Also in 2009, Jones performed in the Flower Power Concert Series during Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival.

In February 2011, Jones mentioned rumours of another Monkees reunion. “There’s even talk of putting the Monkees back together again in the next year or so for a U.S. and UK tour,” he told Disney’s Backstage Pass newsletter. “You’re always hearing all those great songs on the radio, in commercials, movies, almost everywhere.” The tour came to fruition entitled, “An Evening with The Monkees: The 45th Anniversary Tour

The frontman got back together with Dolenz and Tork last year to play a series of gigs. Although The Monkees had nine top-40 hits in their heyday, they were criticised for being a manufactured group. Californian band The Byrds mocked them in their single So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star. But they made efforts to prove themselves by writing more of their own songs and starring in a 1960s cult film, Head, with Jack Nicholson. In in the early 1960s, Jones had appeared as Ena Sharples’ grandson in Coronation Street and also starred in British series Z-Cars. He briefly left showbusiness to train as a jockey – and would continue to race horses later in life – but returned to acting with a role in a stage production of Oliver! From the West End he followed the show to Broadway.

Posted in Uncategorized

Fun traditions associated with February 29th

1. Queen Margaret of Scotland was apparently five years old when she came up with the notorious February 29 proposal trap.

2. If a man did refuse the proposal, he would be fined a kiss, a silk dress or twelve pairs of gloves.

3. Women either have to wear breeches or a scarlet petticoat to pop the question, according to tradition.

4. One in five engaged couples in Greece will plan to avoid getting married in a leap year. They believe it is bad luck.

5. People born on February 29 are called “leaplings” or “leapers”. 6. The poet Lord Byron was born on a Leap Day.

7. So was the rapper Ja Rule.

8. The plot of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance revolved around Frederic’s discovery that, because he is a leapling, he must remain apprenticed to pirates and serve another 63 years before he can join Mabel, his one true love.

9. Anthony, Texas is the self-proclaimed “Leap Year Capital of the World”. It holds a festival which includes a guided trip to Aztec Cave, “fun at the horse farm” and square dancing.

10. Parties are sometimes thrown to celebrate leap days. There is no special leap day food but if there was, it would probably be frog’s legs – but not if the frog could help it.

12. Matthew Goode, the British film star who acted in the film Leap Year, said he knew the movie would be remembered as the “worst film of 2011” but wanted to be “close to home and able to visit his girlfriend and newborn daughter.”

13. February 29 also marks Rare Disease Day.

14. Today you are working for free if you’re on a fixed annual wage.

15. Astrologers believe people born on February 29 have unusual talents, such as the ability to burp the alphabet or paint like Picasso –  I wonder if Picasso could burp the alphabet?

16. Mitsukuni “honey” Haninozuka, the manga and anime character born on a leap day, likes sweets, cake and stuffed toys. It is joked that, although he’s 17, he’s really six years old.

17. Hugh Hefner opened his first Playboy Club on February 29 1960.

18. The character Leap Day William who appeared in an episode of 30 Rock wears blue and yellow.

19. The French call leapfrog “saute-mouton”, which translates literally as “leap sheep”.

20. The frog is a symbol associated with February 29. The Australian rocket frog can leap over two metres.

Posted in books

Greatest Comic book Superheroes of All time

Batman was recently named the greatest comic hero of all time in a poll conducted by Comic Heroes magazine to find the top 50 superheroes of all time, as voted by readers . Followed in second place by Spiderman & Superman in third place. Wolverine, the adamantium-clawed mutant from X-Men, comes in fourth followed by Judge Dredd. Tintin makes a surprise appearance in sixth place, with the list rounded out by Captain America, Wonder Woman, The Spirit and The Thing.

But Comic Heroes editor Jes Bickham said it was “no surprise” that Batman came in at No 1 as the character, created in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, was, “quite simply, the coolest and most interesting superhero ever created”. Batman even, has a butler. Batman “doesn’t have superpowers; he gets by with his mind, his wit and his physical abilities. He’s dark, conflicted and tragic, yet never less than the best of us. He’s got the best costume and the finest gadgets,” said the editor. “His rogues’ gallery is the most frightening and freakish collection of villains ever assembled; a cavalcade of criminality unmatched in modern comics. He’s also strong enough to fit almost any story, being constantly remoulded by writers and artists since his creation in 1939.”

In addition to the greatest heroes ever, there are also some really crappy ones too. such as the hero who’s secret weapon is a trained bumble bee that lives in his belt buckle, Or the hero Who’s power relies on the length of his hair, Or the riot cop on a skateboard? plus many others.

The latest edition of Comic Heroes also comes complete with three fantastic freebies for you to “marvel” at (that’s right, we went there): check out the 2000 AD badges, Sidekick sampler comic and giant double-sided poster of The New 52 and American Vampire.There is also an exclusive interview with Ed Brubaker, who discusses Captain America, the launch of his right-hand man Bucky’s title Winter Soldier and the new image series Fatale with artistic partner Sean Phillips. There are also details about Avengers Vs X-Men, which hits stores in April to coincide with the highly anticipated release of Joss Whedon’s film The Avengers.

There is also a bluffer’s guide to George Pérez, the art of Jamie McKelvie, American Flagg, Massimo Belardinelli and extensive reviews featuring the best of the month’s releases. There is also an interview with Hulk Hogan who talks about Tom Strong, and a celebration of Judge Dredd.

Comic Heroes’ top 10 comic heroes of all time are:

  • Batman
  • Spider-Man
  • Superman
  • Wolverine
  • Judge Dredd
  • Tintin
  • Captain America
  • Wonder Woman
  • The Spirit
  • The Thing
Posted in Events

Leap Year 29th February

A leap year (or intercalary or bissextile year) is a year containing one additional day (or, in the case of lunisolar calendars, a month) in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, a calendar that had the same number of days in each year would, over time, drift with respect to the event it was supposed to track. By occasionally inserting (or intercalating) an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected. A year that is not a leap year is called a common year and a year that is a leap year is called a leap year:D

For example, in the Gregorian calendar (a common solar calendar), February in a leap year has 29 days instead of the usual 28, so the year lasts 366 days instead of the usual 365. Similarly, in the Hebrew calendar (a lunisolar calendar), a 13th lunar month is added seven times every 19 years to the twelve lunar months in its common years to keep its calendar year from drifting through the seasons too rapidly.

There are also many traditions associated with Leap Years. In Denmark, the tradition is that women may propose on the bissextile leap day, February 24, and that refusal must be compensated with 12 pairs of gloves. In Finland, the tradition is that if a man refuses a woman’s proposal on leap day, he should buy her the fabrics for a skirt. In Greece, marriage in a leap year is considered unlucky. One in five engaged couples in Greece will plan to avoid getting married in a leap year.

In the British Isles On 29th February, it is a tradition that women may propose marriage only on leap years. While it has been claimed that the tradition was initiated by Saint Patrick or Brigid of Kildare in 5th century Ireland, this is dubious, as the tradition has not been attested before the 19th century. Supposedly, a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland (then age five and living in Norway), required that fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man; compensation ranged from a kiss to £1 to a silk gown, in order to soften the blow. In some places the tradition was tightened to restricting female proposals to the modern leap day, February 29, or to the medieval (bissextile) leap day, February 24. However even this does not prevent them from going wrong, here are some cringe-inducing proposals that go slightly awry:

Food Court Proposal

It didn’t take long to find a prime example of a poorly thought-out proposal. I mean, even being”dizzy with love” is no excuse for believing that a shopping centre food court is an appropriate location. Her cringing body language and the hands covering her ears should have given Romeo the hint to stop talking before the guy with the guitar turned up and drew even more attention to this extremely awkward situation. In the final analysis, there was only one possible outcome …RUN, CAROLINE. RUN

Basketball Game Proposal

Not sure if this one is a setup. The woman’s reaction is so badly acted that it COULD be real. But the best thing about this video is the luckless wannabe husband finding comfort in the arms of someone dressed as a giant fluffy mouse. Oh, and the commentator saying at the end, “This is where amazing happens.” It sure is.

I think the moral is “Don’t propose in public”.

Posted in Events, music

V Festival 2012

This years V Festival takes place between Saturday 18th August and Sunday 19th August at Weston Park Staffordshire & Hylands Park, Chelmsford. Among the acts rumoured to be attending this year are:

  • The Stone Roses
  • The Killers
  • Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
  • Snow Patrol
  • Nicki Manaj
  • David Guetta
  • Example
  • James Morrison
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Tom Jones
  • Keane
  • Madness
  • Nero
  • Emeli Sande
  • Friendly Fires
  • Happy Mondays
  • Inspiral Carpets
  • Shed Seven
  • Noah & the Whale
  • Rizzle Kicks
  • The Enemy
  • Dappy
  • Pixie Lott
  • The Human League
  • The Proclaimers
  • The Stranglers
Posted in Events, films & DVD, Uncategorized

84th Academy Award Winners

Here is the full list of winners for the 84th Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture:The Artist
  • Best actor: Jean Dujardin – The Artist
  • Best actress: Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady
  • Supporting actor: Christopher Plummer – Beginners
  • Supporting actress: Octavia Spencer – The Help
  • Adapted screenplay: The Descendants
  • Original screenplay: Midnight In Paris
  • Directing: The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius
  • Animated feature film: Rango
  • Art direction: Hugo
  • Cinematography: Hugo
  • Costume design: The Artist
  • Documentary (feature): Undefeated
  • Documentary (short subject): Saving Face
  • Film editing: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
  • Foreign language film: A Separation (Iran)
  • Make-up: The Iron Lady
  • Music (original score): The Artist – Ludovic Bource
  • Music (Original Song): Man Or Muppet (The Muppets)
  • Short film (animated): The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr Morris Lessmore
  • Short film (live action): The Shore
  • Sound editing: Hugo
  • Sound mixing: Hugo
  • Visual effects: Hugo
Posted in Events, films & DVD

Nominations for the 84th Annual Academy Awards

The 84th Academy Awards (A.K.A The Oscars) takes palce on Sunday 26th February 2012. Here are the Nominations for each category:

Best Picture

  • The Artist – Thomas Langmann
  • The Descendants – Jim Burke, Jim Taylor, and Alexander Payne
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Scott Rudin
  • The Help – Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, and Michael Barnathan
  • Hugo – Graham King and Martin Scorsese
  • Midnight in Paris – Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum
  • Moneyball – Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, and Brad Pitt
  •  The Tree of Life – Dede Gardner, Sarah Green, Grant Hill, and Bill Pohlad
  • War Horse – Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy

Best Director

  • Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris
  • Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
  • Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life
  • Alexander Payne – The Descendants
  • Martin Scorsese – Hugo

Best Actor

  • Demián Bichir – A Better Life as Carlos Galindo
  • George Clooney – The Descendants as Matt King
  •  Jean Dujardin – The Artist as George Valentin
  • Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as George Smiley
  • Brad Pitt – Moneyball as Billy Beane

Best Actress

  • Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs as Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis – The Help as Aibileen Clark
  • Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as Lisbeth Salander
  •  Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady as Margaret Thatcher
  • Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn as Marilyn Monroe

Best Supporting Actor

  • Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn as Laurence Olivier
  • Jonah Hill – Moneyball as Peter Brand
  •  Nick Nolte – Warrior as Paddy Conlon
  • Christopher Plummer – Beginners as Hal Fields
  • Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as The Renter

Best Supporting Actress

  • Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy Miller
  •  Jessica Chastain – The Help as Celia Foote
  • Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan Price
  • Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert Page
  • Octavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson

Best Writing Original ScreenPlay

  • The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius
  • Bridesmaids – Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo
  • Margin Call – J.C. Chandor
  • Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen
  • A Separation – Asghar Farhadi

Best Writing Adapted Screenplay

  • The Descendants – Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash from The Descendants by Kaui Hart  Hemmings
  • Hugo – John Logan from The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  • The Ides of March – George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon from Farragut North by Beau  Willimon
  • Moneyball – Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin from  Moneyball by Michael Lewis
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier,  Spy by John le Carré

Best Animated Film

  • A Cat in Paris – Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
  • Chico and Rita – Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 – Jennifer Yuh Nelson
  • Puss in Boots – Chris Miller
  • Rango – Gore Verbinski

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Bullhead (Belgium) in Dutch and French – Michaël R. Roskam
  • Footnote (Israel) in Hebrew – Joseph Cedar
  • In Darkness (Poland) in Polish – Agnieszka Holland
  •  Monsieur Lazhar (Canada) in French – Philippe Falardeau
  •  A Separation (Iran) in Farsi – Asghar Farhadi

Best Documentary Feature

  • Hell and Back Again – Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front – Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory – Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
  • Pina – Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
  • Undefeated – TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay, and Richard Middlemas

Best Live Action Short Film

  • Pentecost – Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
  • Raju – Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
  • The Shore – Terry George and Oorlagh George
  • Time Freak – Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
  • Tuba Atlantic – Hallvar Witzø

Best Animated Short Film

  • Dimanche – Patrick Doyon
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore – William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
  • La Luna – Enrico Casarosa  A Morning Stroll – Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
  • Wild Life – Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Best Original Score

  • The Adventures of Tintin – John Williams
  • The Artist – Ludovic Bource
  • Hugo – Howard Shore
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Alberto Iglesias
  • War Horse – John Williams

Best Original Song  Man or Muppet” from The Muppets – Bret McKenzie  “Real in Rio” from Rio – Sérgio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown, and Siedah Garrett

Best Sound Editing

  • Drive – Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Ren Klyce
  • Hugo – Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
  • War Horse – Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Best Sound Mixing

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, and Bo Persson
  • Hugo – Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
  • Moneyball – Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco, and Ed Novick
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, and Peter J. Devlin
  • War Horse – Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, and Stuart Wilson

Best Art Dirction

  • The Artist – Laurence Bennett and Robert Gould
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – Stuart Craig and Stephanie McMillan
  • Hugo – Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo
  • Midnight in Paris – Anne Seibel and Hélène Dubreuil
  • War Horse – Rick Carter and Lee Sandales

Best Cinematography

  • The Artist – Guillaume Schiffman
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Jeff Cronenweth
  • Hugo – Robert Richardson
  • The Tree of Life – Emmanuel Lubezki
  • War Horse – Janusz Kaminski

Best Makeup

  • Albert Nobbs – Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnson, and Matthew W. Mungle
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight, and Lisa Tomblin
  • The Iron Lady – Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Best Costume

  • Design Anonymous – Lisy Christl
  • The Artist – Mark Bridges
  • Hugo – Sandy Powell
  •  Jane Eyre – Michael O’Connor
  • W.E. – Arianne Phillips

Best Film Editing

  • The Artist – Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
  • The Descendants – Kevin Tent
  •  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter
  • Hugo – Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Moneyball – Christopher Tellefsen

Best Visual Effects

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, and John Richardson
  • Hugo – Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann, and Alex Henning
  • Real Steel – Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Danny Gordon Taylor, and Swen Gillberg
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White, and Daniel  Barrett
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew E. Butler, and John Frazier
Posted in books, Science-tech

Telegraph guide to the Night Sky

This weekend the Telegraph Newspaper is offering readers the chance to get two inspirational, glossy guides to the night sky which are  free inside The Telegraph on Saturday, February 25th  and inside The Sunday Telegraph on February 26th , Introduced by Sir Patrick Moore and produced in association with Astronomy Now magazine, they  provide practical stargazing tips and facts for astronomers both old and new.

On Saturday, February 25, A Guide to the Solar System is a picture-packed exploration of the sun, the planets and their moons, dwarf planets, asteroids and comets – supported with detailed scientific explanation, fact files, trivia and useful observation tips.

On Sunday, February 26, A Guide to the Stars and Galaxies ventures further into the Universe, exploring the beautiful and fascinating life cycle of stars, taking a closer look at our own Milky Way Galaxy and its nearest neighbours, and featuring practical, year-round stargazing charts

Posted in Events, music

OsFest 2012

This years annual OsFest is again being held at Oswestry Showground in the Shropshire market town of Oswestry. It has been organised by Seventh Sense Management who have again joined forces with Live & Unsigned. The Event takes place from Friday 1st until Monday 4th June 2012 at the Oswestry Showground, Shropshire, on the outskirts of the town, the showground is usually host to a variety of farming markets throughout the year, perhaps most notably Oswestry Show.

Performers confirmed for this years event include

  • Razorlight,
  • Hard-Fi,
  • Dappy(N-Dubz),
  • Benjamin Francis Lefwich,
  • Loick Essien,
  • The Big Pink.
  • Delilah,
  • One Night Only,
  • Angel,
  • Katy B,
  • One Night Only,
  • Young Guns,
  • Goldie Looking Chain,
  • The Jude,
  • Daytona Lights,
  • Tom & Bowen,
  • The Making,
  • No Flash Lucy
  • Spraggen
  • Levi Roots
Posted in Uncategorized

Shrewsbury Folk Festival

More than 5,000 fans are expected to descend on  the County Showground in Shrewsbury during August to see KT Tunstall play at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival. – Hell yeah! It was great fun when I went a few years ago.

Singer-songwriter KT Tunstall, who has a clutch of musical accolades including a BRIT award, an Ivor Novello award and a Grammy nomination to her name, was recently confirmed as the final headline act for this year’s Shrewsbury Folk Festival, The Scottish star will close the four-day event, performing on the main stage on the afternoon of August 27th.

Organisers of Shrewsbury Folk Festival today said their four-day August event is on course for its fastest-ever sell-out, after announcing chart star KT Tunstall as a headline act. They are encouraging people to buy tickets now – or face disappointment when the festival sells out. The event takes place at the County Showground in Shrewsbury from August 24th till the 27th and has become one of the most popular on the British folk music calendar.

Festival organsiers say tickets this year are selling faster than ever, last year the event sold out in April, Tickets are presently on sale at a reduced early bird rate, though that offer will end on February 29, a month earlier than usual. Over the years The event has attracted some of the biggest names in folk including Bellowhead, Ade Edmondson & The Bad Sepherds, Richard Thompson, Show of Hands, Plainsong and KT Tunstall.

This year there will also be sets from Kate Rusby, Jim Moray, Jackie Oates, Jon Boden, Lau, Karine Polwart, The Sweetback Sisters Show of Hands, Dervish, Blowzabella, A9, Plainsong, Vin Garbutt, Session A9 and Faustus.