Tribute to the late, great Marc Bolan

Marc Bolan, English singer/songwriter musician with Glam Rock band T.Rex was Born September 30th 1947. Formed in 1967  T.Rex originally formed as Tyrannosaurus Rex, After a solitary performance as a four-piece the group immediately broke up. Bolan retained the services of percussionist Steve Peregrin Took and the duo began performing acoustic material. The combination of Bolan’s acoustic guitar and distinctive vocal style with Took’s bongos and assorted percussion earned them a devoted following in the thriving hippy underground scene which included the late great BBC Radio One Disc jockey John Peel who championed the band early in their recording career. By 1968, Tyrannosaurus Rex had become a modest success on radio and on record, and had released three albums. While Bolan’s early material was rock and roll-influenced pop music,  he was also writing dramatic and baroque songs with lush melodies and surreal lyrics filled with Greek and Persian mythology as well as creations of his own.  After Bolan  replaced Took with percussionist Mickey Finn, they completed A Beard of Stars.

As well as progressively shorter titles, Tyrannosaurus Rex’s albums began to show higher production values, more accessible songwriting and experimentation with electric guitars and a true rock sound. The breakthrough came with “King of the Rumbling Spires” which used a full rock band. The group’s next album, T. Rex, continued the process of simplification by shortening the name, and completed the move to electric guitars.The new sound was more pop-oriented, They released the first single, “Ride a White Swan”, in late 1970 and was followed by a second single, “Hot Love”.

Before one performance Mickey Finn’s girlfriend Chelita Secunda add two spots of glitter  under Bolan’s eyes before an appearance on Top of the Pops, the ensuing performance would often be viewed as the birth of glam rock. After Bolan’s display, glam rock would gain popularity in the UK and Europe during 1971–72. In September 1971, T. Rex released their second album Electric Warrior which contained one of their best-known song, “Get It On”. and is Often considered to be their best album.  it became a top ten hit in the US, where the song was retitled “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” to distinguish it from a 1971 song by the group Chase.  However, the album still recalled Bolan’s acoustic roots with ballads such as “Cosmic Dancer” and the stark “Girl” & brought much commercial success to the group, & the term “T. Rextasy” was coined as a parallel to Beatlemania to describe the group’s popularity. Along with David Bowie’s early hits, “Get It On” was among the few British glam rock songs that were successful in the US. This was followed by more glam rock hits during the 1970’s including “Jeepster”, “20th Century Boy”, “Children of the Revolution”, “Hot Love”, “Telegram Sam”, and “Metal Guru”.

On 18 March 1972, T. Rex played two shows at the Empire Pool, Wembley, which were filmed by Ringo Starr and his crew for Apple Films. A large part of the second show was included on Bolan’s own rock film Born to Boogie, while bits and pieces of the first show can be seen throughout the film’s end-credits. Along with T. Rex and Starr, Born to Boogie also features Elton John, who jammed with the friends to create rocking studio versions of “Children of the Revolution” and “Tutti Frutti”; Elton John had appeared on TV with Bolan before, miming the piano part of “Get it On” on the 1971 Christmas edition of Top of the Pops. T. Rex’s third album The Slider was released in July 1972. The band’s most successful album in the US, The Slider was not as successful as its predecessor in the UK, where it peaked at the fourth spot. During spring/summer 1972, Bolan’s old label Fly released the chart-topping compilation album Bolan Boogie, a collection of singles, B-sides and LP tracks, which affected The Slider’s sales. Two singles from The Slider, “Telegram Sam” and “Metal Guru”, became number one hits in the UK. Born to Boogie premiered at the Oscar One cinema in London, in December 1972. The film received negative reviews from critics, while it was loved by fans.

Tanx (1973) would mark the end of the classic T. Rex lineup. An album full of melancholy ballads and rich production, Tanx showcased the T. Rex sound bolstered by extra instrumental embellishments such as Mellotron and saxophone. During the recording T. Rex members began to quit, starting with Bill Legend in November 1973. Legend felt alienated by Bolan’s increasingly egotistical behaviour, which was fed by success, money, cocaine, and brandy. Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow was released on 1 February 1974, and reached number 12 in the UK. The album harkened back to the Tyrannosaurus Rex days with long song-titles and lyrical complexity, Bolan’s Zip Gun (1975) was self-produced by Bolan who, in addition to writing the songs, gave his music a harder, more futuristic sheen. The final song recorded with Visconti, “Till Dawn”, was re-recorded for Bolan’s Zip Gun with Bolan at the controls. T. Rex’s penultimate album, Futuristic Dragon (1976), featured a schizophrenic production style that veered from wall of sound-style songs to nostalgic nods to the old T. Rex boogie machine. In the summer of 1976, T. Rex released two more singles, “I Love to Boogie” and “Laser Love”, In early 1977 Dandy in the Underworld was released to critical acclaim and the band experienced something of a resurgence.

Sadly though, While driving home Jones crashed Bolan’s purple Mini 1275GT into a tree (now the site of Bolan’s Rock Shrine), after failing to negotiate a small humpback bridge in, southwest London. While Jones was severely injured, Bolan was killed in the crash, two weeks before his 30th birthday. However T. Rex vastly influenced the glam rock, punk rock and Britpop genres. Johnny Marr of The Smiths stated: “The influence of T. Rex is very profound on certain songs of the Smiths like “Panic” and “Shoplifters of the World Unite”. T. Rex are specifically referenced by The Who in the lyrics of their 1981 hit song “You Better You Bet”, by David Bowie in the song “All the Young Dudes” (which he wrote for Mott the Hoople), by B A Robertson in his 1980 hit “Kool In The Kaftan”, and by the Ramones in their song “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?” The early acoustic material was influential in helping to bring about progressive rock and 21st century folk music-influenced singers. The lyric “Glimmers like Bolan in the shining sun” is featured in My Chemical Romance’s song “Vampire Money”, a direct reference to Bolan, taken from their most recent studio album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Additionally, Oasis “borrowed” the distinct guitar riff from “Get It On” on their single “Cigarettes and Alcohol”.Noel Gallagher, has also cited T. Rex as a strong influence.

Standing on the edge of the Hoover Dam

American musician and producer/engineer David Barbe was born September 30, 1963. known for his work as a songwriter, singer, guitarist, and bass guitarist in Sugar, Mercyland, and Buzz Hungry, ) he is director of the Music Business Certificate Program at the University of Georgia. He is chief of Chase Park Transduction studio in Athens. Barbe is as well as solo performances. Also, he has produced nearly every album by the popular country-rock band Drive-By Truckers, and has worked as producer and engineer with Son Volt. He has an all-star solo band in Athens called the Quick Hooks. Sugar was an American alternative rock band of the early 1990s. Formed in 1992, they were led by the singer and guitarist Bob Mould (ex-Hüsker Dü), alongside bassist David Barbe (ex-Mercyland) and drummer Malcolm Travis (ex-Human Sexual Response). Their first concert was on February 20, 1992, at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia, after a few weeks warming up in R.E.M.’s downtown practice space. Later in 1992, the band released the album Copper Blue, which was named Album Of The Year 1992 by the NME. The following year they released Beaster, an EP of material recorded during the Copper Blue sessions. The single “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” was a moderate success in the UK Singles Chart.

After an abortive attempt to record a second album, the band regrouped and released File Under: Easy Listening in September 1994. It reached No. 7 in the UK Albums Chart.A b-side compilation album, Besides, followed in July 1995. Mould broke the band up in spring 1996, because Barbe wished to spend more time with his growing family and expand his solo career. Travis took over the drumming slot in Kustomized. Bob Mould spent the summer of 2012 touring and playing Copper Blue in its entirety.

Tribute to Truman Capote

American author Truman Capote was born September 30, 1924 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  His stories, novels, plays, and nonfiction are recognized literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) and the true crime novel In Cold Blood (1966), which he labeled a “nonfiction novel.” At least 20 films and television dramas have been produced from Capote novels,.

Capote rose above a childhood troubled by divorce, a long absence from his mother and multiple migrations. He had discovered his calling as a writer by the age of 11, and for the rest of his childhood he honed his writing ability. Capote began his professional career writing short stories. The critical success of one story, “Miriam” (1945), attracted the attention of Random House publisher Bennett Cerf, resulting in a contract to write Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948). Capote earned the most fame with In Cold Blood, a journalistic work about the murder of a Kansas farm family in their home, a book Capote spent four years writing, with much help from Harper Lee, who wrote the famous To Kill a Mockingbird. A milestone in popular culture, In Cold Blood was the peak of his literary career, though it was not his final book. In the 1970s, he maintained his celebrity status by appearing on television talk shows.

Doctor Who – The Angels take Manhattan

The Angels Take Manhattan sees Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) her on-screen husband Rory, played by Arthur Darvill, River Song (Alex Kingston) and the Doctor face those terrifyingly creepy adversaries, the Weeping Angels, who appear in New York and the Doctor and Co. have to try and rid the city of the terror, but this time the challenge may be too great. and Amy & Rory face an impossible dilemma and end up having to make a difficult decision.

Amy has been the Time-lord’s companion for two-and-a-half years and the episode’s final shot was inspired by Karen Gillan’s first appearance two years ago and the Weeping Angels play a key part in the companions’ departure which has been described as ‘in flames of blazing glory’ but which leaves the Doctor devastated. The pair’s departure and eventual replacement by a new companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, ( who has already been seen in the opening episode Asylum of the Daleks) would be difficult for Matt Smith’s character to deal with. However Jenna will be on screens for the Christmas Special and when the show returns next year. Meanwhile Karen Gillan is currently filming horror film Oculus in Alabama, and prior to that made a biopic about Jean Shrimpton for the BBC, as well as an independent romantic comedy entitled Not Another Happy Ending, and may make the odd appearance in the next Series of Doctor Who. (personally I think Matt Smith’s appearance clothes-wise, is very odd)

Spiderman’s Amazing sequel

Actor Andrew Garfield and director Marc Webb announced on Friday that they have signed on for a sequel to The Amazing Spiderman. The pair, who put a new spin on the Spider-Man movie franchise this summer, hope to build on their previous success.The film, released just five years after Sam Raimi concluded his trilogy with Tobey Maguire. The new adventure, which will begin shooting in early 2013, has already been given a release date of May 2, 2014.The premiere will tie into Free Comic Book Day during which comic book shops and participating locations around the world give away comics to customers. Emma Stone, who played Peter Parker’s love interest Gwen Stacy, is also expected to return to the franchise.

Meanwhile The Amazing Spiderman  starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans will be released on DVD 26th November 2012, and the original trilogy Starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst is also available.

Tribute to Tintoretto & Caravaggio

Venetian painter Tintoretto was born September 29, 1518 , real name Jacopo Comin. He was a and a notable exponent of the Renaissance school, and was dubbed Il Furioso For his phenomenal energy in painting. His work is characterized by its muscular figures, dramatic gestures and bold use of perspective in the Mannerist style, while maintaining color and light typical of the Venetian School.

In his youth, Tintoretto was also known as Jacopo Robusti as his father had defended the gates of Padua in a rather robust way against the imperial troops during the War of the League of Cambrai (1509–1516). His real name “Comin” has only recently been discovered by Miguel Falomir, the curator of the Museo del Prado, Madrid, and was made public on the occasion of the retrospective of Tintoretto at the Prado in 2007. Comin translates to the spice cumin in the local language.
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Italian artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was born 29 September 1571 . Active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610, His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque school of painting.

Caravaggio trained as a painter in Milan under Simone Peterzano who had himself trained under Titian. In his early twenties Caravaggio moved to Rome where, during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, many huge new churches and palazzi were being built and paintings were needed to fill them. During the Counter-Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church searched for religious art with which to counter the threat of Protestantism, and for this task the artificial conventions of Mannerism, which had ruled art for almost a century, no longer seemed adequate.

Caravaggio’s novelty was a radical naturalism that combined close physical observation with a dramatic, even theatrical, use of chiaroscuro. This came to be known as Tenebrism, the shift from light to dark with little intermediate value. He burst upon the Rome art scene in 1600 with the success of his first public commissions, the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Calling of Saint Matthew. Thereafter he never lacked commissions or patrons, yet he handled his success poorly. He was jailed on several occasions, vandalized his own apartment, and ultimately had a death warrant issued for him by the Pope.

An early published notice on him, dating from 1604 and describing his lifestyle three years previously, tells how “after a fortnight’s work he will swagger about for a month or two with a sword at his side and a servant following him, from one ball-court to the next, ever ready to engage in a fight or an argument, so that it is most awkward to get along with him.” In 1606 he killed a young man in a brawl and fled from Rome with a price on his head. He was involved in a brawl in Malta in 1608, and another in Naples in 1609, possibly a deliberate attempt on his life by unidentified enemies. This encounter left him severely injured. A year later, at the age of 38, he died under mysterious circumstances in Porto Ercole, reportedly from a fever while on his way to Rome to receive a pardon.

Famous while he lived, Caravaggio was forgotten almost immediately after his death, and it was only in the 20th century that his importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered. Despite this, his influence on the new Baroque style that eventually emerged from the ruins of Mannerism was profound. It can be seen directly or indirectly in the work of Rubens, Jusepe de Ribera, Bernini, and Rembrandt, and artists in the following generation heavily under his influence were called the “Caravaggisti” or “Caravagesques”, as well as Tenebrists or “Tenebrosi” (“shadowists”). Andre Berne-Joffroy, Paul Valéry’s secretary, said of him: “What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting.

Mika Hakkinen & Lewis Hamilton

Finnish race car driver Mika Häkkinen, was Born September 28th 1968

Finnish racing driver and two-time Formula One World Champion. Mika Häkkinen was born 28 September 1968 in Vantaa near Helsinki. After success in karting and a near win at the 1990 Macau Grand Prix, Häkkinen joined Lotus in 1991 where he remained until 1992. Häkkinen joined McLaren as a test driver in 1993 initally as a backup for Ayrton Senna and took on the responsibility of race driver after Michael Andretti was dismissed by the team after that year’s Italian Grand prix. In 1994, he became the lead driver after Senna  left to join Williams.

Following a life-threatening injury during qualifying for the 1995 Australian Grand Prix, Häkkinen made a considerable improvement in 1996 and took his first victory at the 1997 European Grand Prix. Häkkinen won back to back titles in 1998-99. 2000 saw the year that Häkkinen conceded the title to Schumacher with 2001 yelding two victories and the announcement of a sabbatical that later turned into retirement.After retiring from Formula One, Häkkinen has driven in the DTM series where he won three races with Mercedes before retiring in 2007

Lewis Hamilton signs three year deal to drive for Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton recently signed a three year deal to race for Mercedes from next season. The decision to leave McLaren after a 14-year association with the team has been described by one source close to Hamilton as “the toughest of his career”.The 27 year-old replaces Michael Schumacher at Mercedes, with the 43 year-old seven-times champion now likely to retire from Formula One for a second time.

Mercedes-Benz has such an incredible heritage in motorsport, along with a passion for winning, which I share. (The 1930’s silver Arrows cars were awesome.).Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said: “I am delighted to welcome Lewis Hamilton to our team, who will now team up with close friend Nico Rosberg at Mercedes. McLaren announced earlier this morning that Sergio Perez would be their replacement for Hamilton, the 22 year-old Mexican signing a multi-year contract with the Woking-based marque.