Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch has made it onto the Penguin Modern Classics List, putting his work up there with the giants of the literary world, including George Orwell’s 1984, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis and Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.

Fever Pitch is the story of a fan obsessed with Arsenal Football Club, and was written in 1992 by Nick Hornby, who is regarded as one of the most popular writers of his generation, and has also seen many of his other works turned into successful fims, including About A Boy, High Fidelity and Fever Pitch which starred Colin Firth and Ruth Gemmell.

However critics are questioning whether the highs and lows of a north London club from the 1960s to the 1990s, has enough clout to be included on the well-regarded list, which was MADE BY the THE editorial director at Penguin, who said the book was chosen because it “struck a chord with the popular imagination.

Although Fever Pitch is considered a good novel by some it’s not what most would consider a classic novel, and Penguin may have started a fresh debate about what exactly constitutes a “classic” novel, many feel that traditional Classic Novels transcend the time and place in which they were written and still have relevence today, which is why we still want to read them hundreds of years later.

Ironically the label “Classics” can also cause People to avoid them because they may think the books are too “High Brow” for them and may find a large tome intimidating. So including a popular, more modern book like Fever Pitch on the list could be a positive thing and Anything that encourages people to read has to be good.

Tribute to Whitney Houston

The Late, Great American singer, actress, producer and model Whitney Houston was Born on this date 9th August in 1963 in Newark, New Jersey, At the age of 11, Houston started performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where she also learned to play the piano. When Houston was a teenager, she attended Mount Saint Dominic Academy, a Catholic girls’ high school in Caldwell, New Jersey, where she met her best friend Robyn Crawford, whom she described as the “sister she never had”. While Houston was still in school, her mother continued to teach her how to sing. Houston was also exposed to the music of Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, and Roberta Flack, most of whom would have an influence on her as a singer and performer.

Houston spent some of her teenage years touring nightclubs where her mother Cissy was performing, and she would occasionally get on stage and perform with her. In 1977, at age 14, she became a backup singer on the Michael Zager Band’s single “Life’s a Party”. In 1978, at age 15, Houston sang background vocals on Chaka Khan’s hit single “I’m Every Woman”, a song she would later turn into a larger hit for herself on her monster-selling The Bodyguard soundtrack album. She also sang back-up on albums by Lou Rawls and Jermaine Jackson.

In the early 1980s, Houston started working as a fashion model after a photographer saw her at Carnegie Hall singing with her mother. She appeared in the magazines Seventeen, Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Young Miss,Her striking looks and girl-next-door charm made her one of the most sought after teen models of that time and While modeling, she also continued her burgeoning recording career. Houston first recording was a duet with Teddy Pendergrass entitled “Hold Me” which appeared on his album, Love Language. The single was released in 1984 and gave Houston her first taste of success, becoming a Top 5 R&B hit.

The Song also appeared on her debut album which was released in February 1985. Rolling Stone magazine praised Houston, calling her “one of the most exciting new voices in years” while The New York Times called the album “an impressive, musically conservative showcase for an exceptional vocal talent”.

In the US, the soulful ballad “You Give Good Love” was chosen as the lead single from Houston’s debut to establish her in the black marketplace first. Outside the US, the song failed to get enough attention to become a hit, but in the US, it gave the album its first major hit as it peaked at No. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and No. 1 on the Hot R&B chart. As a result, the album began to sell strongly, and Houston continued promotion by touring nightclubs in the US. She also began performing on late-night television talk shows, which were not usually accessible to unestablished black acts. The jazzy ballad “Saving All My Love for You” was released next and it would become Houston’s first No. 1 single in both the US and the UK.

By 1986, a year after its initial release, Whitney Houston topped the Billboard 200 albums chart and stayed there for 14 non-consecutive weeks. The final single, “Greatest Love of All“, became Houston’s biggest hit at the time after peaking No. 1 and remaining there for three weeks on the Hot 100 chart, which made her debut the first album by a female artist to yield three No. 1 hits. Houston was No. 1 artist of the year and Whitney Houston was the No. 1 album of the year on the 1986 Billboard year-end charts, making her the first female artist to earn that distinction. At the time, Houston released the best-selling debut album by a solo artist.Houston then embarked on her world tour, Greatest Love Tour. The album had become an international success, and was certified 13× platinum (diamond) in the United States alone, and has sold a total of 25 million copies worldwide. At the 1986 Grammy Awards, Houston was nominated for three awards including Album of the Year. She was not eligible for the Best New Artist category due to her previous hit R&B duet recording with Teddy Pendergrass in 1984. She won her first Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for “Saving All My Love for You”. Houston’s performance of the song during the Grammy telecast later earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.Houston won seven American Music Awards in total in 1986 and 1987, and an MTV Video Music Award. The album’s popularity would also carry over to the 1987 Grammy Awards when “Greatest Love of All” would receive a Record of the Year nomination. Houston’s debut album is listed as one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and on The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Definitive 200 list

Houston’s second album, Whitney, was released in June 1987. the album enjoyed commercial success. Houston became the first female artist in music history to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and the first artist to enter the albums chart at number one in both the US and UK. The album’s first single, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)“, was also a massive hit worldwide and The next three singles, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “So Emotional”, and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” all peaked at number one on the US Hot 100 chart, which gave her a total of seven consecutive number one hits, breaking the record of six previously shared by The Beatles and The Bee Gees. Houston became the first female artist to generate four number-one singles from one album. Whitney has been certified 9× Platinum in the US for shipments of over 9 million copies, and has sold a total of 20 million copies worldwide.

In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all-time. Houston was one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide. She released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification. Houston’s crossover appeal on the popular music charts, as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for “How Will I Know”, influenced several African American female artists to follow in her footsteps. Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. She is the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly “Top Pop Album”) on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston’s 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was named Rolling Stone’s best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Houston’s first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film’s original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single “I Will Always Love You“, became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period under Nielsen SoundScan system. The album makes her the top female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher’s Wife (1996). The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history

Sadly Houston, tagically died on the 11th February 2012, at the age of 48. which left fans around the world in shock. The I Will Always Love You and Saving All My Love singer won multiple Grammys including album and record of the year, selling millions of albums and singles worldwide. She also carried her success into the film industry, appearing in hit movies including The Bodyguard. and  was a true original, a talent beyond compare, who is sadly missed.

Tribute to Sir Frank Whittle OM, KBE, CB, FRS, Hon FRAeS

The Late Great, British Royal Air Force (RAF) engineer officer and Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, OM, KBE, CB, FRS, Hon FRAeS  sadly passed away at his home in Columbia, Maryland on this date 9th August in 1996, from the effects of lung cancer

Born 1st June 1907,  He is credited with independently inventing the turbojet engine (some years earlier than Germany’s Dr. Hans von Ohain) and is regarded by many as the father of jet propulsion. The Turbojet Engine was designed to overcome the limitations of traditional piston-engine turbo-prop engines, which could only fly up to a certain speed and height, because above that the air-flow was too fast and too thin for it to perform effectively.   From an early age Whittle demonstrated an aptitude for engineering and an interest in flying. Determined to be a pilot, he overcame his physical limitations to be accepted into the RAF, where his abilities earned him a place on the officer training course at Cranwell. He began his RAF career as an apprentice where he demonstrated an aptitude for engineering and an interest in flying. Determined to be a pilot, he was eventually accepted into the RAF, where his abilities earned him a place on the officer training course at Cranwell, where he excelled in his studies and became an accomplished pilot.

While writing his thesis there he formulated the fundamental concepts that led to the creation of the turbojet engine, taking out a patent on his design in 1930. His performance on an officers’ engineering course earned him a place on a further course at the University of Cambridge where he graduated with a First.   Despite this success, official interest in the Jet Engine was limited, soWithout Air Ministry support, he and two retired RAF servicemen formed Power Jets Ltd to build his engine with assistance from the firm of British Thomson-Houston. Despite limited funding, a prototype was created, which first ran in 1937  culminating in the historic flight of May 16th 1941 and leading the way for others. Official interest was forthcoming following this success, with contracts being placed to develop further engines, but the continuing stress seriously affected Whittle’s health, eventually resulting in a nervous breakdown in 1940 so he resigned from the board in 1946   In recognition for his acheivements Sir Frank was later knighted by King George VI and In 1948 Whittle retired from the RAF and received a knighthood. He joined BOAC as a technical advisor before working as an engineering specialist in one of Shell Oil’s subsidiaries followed by a position with Bristol Aero Engines. After emigrating to the U.S. in 1976 he accepted the position of NAVAIR Research Professor at the United States Naval Academy from 1977–1979. Sir Frank Whittle’s legacy lives on, and three examples of Whittle’s Jet Powered Gloster Meteor can be found at the RAF Aerospace Museum in Cosford, among other really awesome aeroplanes

International Day of the World’s Indigenous

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is observed on August 9 each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection. It was first pronounced by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994, marking the day of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, in 1982.

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People was first pronounced by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994, to be celebrated every year during the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1995 – 2004). In 2004, the Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade, from 2005 – 2015, with the theme of “A Decade for Action and Dignity.” People from different nations are encouraged to participate in observing the day to spread the UN’s message on indigenous peoples. Activities may include educational forums and classroom activities to gain an appreciation and a better understanding of indigenous peoples. the United Nations General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People shall be observed on 9 August every year during the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People. The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Right