Posted in Events, music

Carnaby Street – The Musical

I’d like to go and see the new musical “Carnaby Street” which is set in London’s Swinging 60s heyday and opens at the Hackney Empire in London’s West End in April 6th 2013.It stars Former EastEnders actor Sid Owen and features hits by The Rolling Stones after the band agreed to allow their songs to be used in a theatrical production for the first time. Carnaby Street: The Musical will feature 30 classic tracks including “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, the Rolling Stones’ 1967 hit and “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks. Ray Davies is also considering an offer to write a new title song for the musical, in classic 60s Kinks style. The producers also wanted to include, “Do You Want to Know a Secret?”, a McCartney-Lennon, composition recorded by Billy J. Kramer in 1963 however the Beatles management baulked at allowing their songs to be used despite Paul McCartney being keen. Other era-defining hits by The Who, The Animals and Manfred Mann will also feature in the show, which before going on a nationwide tour.

Carnaby Street tells the story of Jude, a working class boy from Liverpool who travels to London with his best friend Penny Lane (Verity Rushworth) and his guitar, in search of fame and fortune.A chance encounter with man-about-town Jumpin’ Jack (Owen) leads to Jude joining a band led by a singer called “Wild Thing” at The Marquee Club, who tempts the ingénue with a life of sex, drugs and rock n’roll.

The show promises to celebrate the music and fashions of the swinging 60s, with a “pop-up” Carnaby Street retro clothes store opening alongside its run. It was the brainchild of veteran live music agent Carl Leighton-Pope, 67, who represents Bryan Adams and Michael Bublé and was A former cloakroom attendant at the Marquee Club music venue in the mid-Sixties. Leighton-Pope spent ten years preparing the musical for the stage, basing the storyline on characters from his own experience. Bob Tomson, the show’s director, aims to follow the West End success of “jukebox musicals” including the 50s-era Dreamboats And Petticoats and Rock Of Ages, based on the “hair-metal” heavy metal hits of the 70s and 80s.
http://www.carnabystreetthemusical.com

Posted in books, films & DVD

Jackpot

Jackpot-Poster-FinalI’ve recently watched this Exciting black-comedy crime thriller again. Based on the novel of the same name by Norway’s leading crime writer, Jo Nesbø, it starts when  a young chap named Oscar Svendsen (Kyrre Hellum) is found terrified and bloodied;  at what was once a respectable strip joint (Now there’s a contradiction in terms) near Svinesund, Sweden, with a shotgun in his hands, surrounded by eight dead bodies, and police detective Solør, who has a gun aimed at his chest.

 

Despite Oscar persistently denying any wrongdoing Solør is immediately suspicious and convinced of Svendsen’s guilt, So Oscar Reluctantly starts relating the incredible story of a how him and his mates Oscar Svendsen (Kyrre Hellum), Thor (Mads Ousdal), Billy (Arthur Berning) and Tresko (Andreas Cappelen), who all work at a factory in the middle of nowhere making plastic Christmas tree, and have  criminal backgrounds,   Suddenly find themselves 1,739,361 kroner richer after a big win on the football pools, and how things started to go wrong when  greed and avrice rear their ugly heads & they decide not to share the money and start double-crossing each other,  culminating in a bloody shoot-out.

 

 

 

Posted in music

Brian Jones

The late, great Brian Jones, former member of the rock group The Rolling Stones was born 28th February 1942. The Rolling Stone were formed in London in 1962 When Keith Richards and Mick Jagger who were childhood friends and classmates, discovered that they shared a common intereest in the music of Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. leading to the formation of a band with Dick Taylor (later of Pretty Things). Richards, Taylor, and Jagger found Brian Jones as he sat in playing slide guitar with Alexis Korner’s R&B band, Blues Incorporated,which also had two other future members of the Rolling Stones: Ian Stewart and Charlie Watts

On 12 July 1962 the band played their first gig at the Marquee Club billed as “The Rollin’ Stones”.The line-up was Jagger, Richards and Jones, along with Stewart on piano, and Mick Taylor on bass. Bassist Bill Wyman joined in December 1962 and drummer Charlie Watts the following January 1963 to form the band’s long-standing rhythm section. Their first single, was a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On” and their second single, was “I Wanna Be Your Man”, Their third single, Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away”. The band’s second UK LP – The Rolling Stones No. 2, yielded the singles “The Last Time”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Get Off of My Cloud”. The third album “Aftermath” was released in 1966, contained the singles “Paint It Black”, the ballad “Lady Jane” “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?” “Goin’ Home” and “Under My Thumb”. 1967 saw the release of “Between the Buttons”, which included the double A-side single “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and “Ruby Tuesday”, and the release of the Satanic Majesties Request LP. the next album, Beggars Banquet was an eclectic mix of country and blues-inspired tunes,featuring the singles “Street Fighting Man” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Sympathy for the Devil. The Stones next album Let It Bleed featured the song “Gimmie Shelter”, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” “Midnight Rambler” and “Love in Vain”. The next album Sticky Finger was released in 1971.and featured an elaborate cover design by Andy Warhol, and contains the hits, “Brown Sugar”, and “Wild Horses”. The Stones classic double album, Exile on Main St. was released in May 1972. their follow-up album Goats Head Soup, featured the hit “Angie”. Their next album was 1974′s It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Some Girls, which included the hit single “Miss You”, the country ballad “Far Away Eyes”, “Beast of Burden”, and “Shattered”. The band released their next albums Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You in 1980 which featured the single “Start Me Up”. in 1982 the Rolling Stones toured Europe to commemorate their 20th anniversary and released their next album Undercover in late 1983. In 1986′s the album Dirty Work was released,which contained the song “Harlem Shuffle”.The next album “Steel Wheels” included the singles “Mixed Emotions”, “Rock and a Hard Place”, “Almost Hear You Sigh” and “Continental Drift”. their next studio album 1994′s Voodoo Lounge,went double platinum in the US. and went on to win the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album.The Rolling Stones ended the 1990s with the album Bridges to Babylon which was released in 1997. In 2002, the band released Forty Licks, a greatest hits double album, to mark their forty years as a band. On 12th November 2012 The Rolling Stones released the album Grrrr  to celebrate their 50th anniversary and have also made a documentary called Crossfire Hurricane.

The Rolling Stones are one of the of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music and In early 1989, the Rolling Stones, including Mick Taylor, Ronnie Wood and Ian Stewart (posthumously), were inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Q magazine also named them one of the “50 Bands To See Before You Die”, and popular consensus has accorded them the title of the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.” Rolling Stone magazine ranked them 4th on their “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” list.

Posted in Events, Science-tech

Rare Disease Day

Rare Disease Day is an observance held on the last day of February to raise awareness for rare diseases and improve access to treatment and medical representation for individuals with rare diseases and their families. It was established in 2008 because, according to the European Organization for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS), treatment for many rare diseases is insufficient, as are the social networks to support individuals with rare diseases and their families; furthermore, while there were already numerous days dedicated to sufferers of individual diseases (such as AIDS, cancer, etc.), there had previously not been a day for representing sufferers of rare diseases. In 2009 Rare Disease Day went global as NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders) mobilized 200 rare disease patient advocacy organizations in the United States while organizations in China, Australia, Taiwan, and Latin America also lead efforts in their respective countries to coordinate activities and promote the day. In addition, leading rare disease patient advocacy organizations including the Global Genes Project have joined forces to promote Rare Disease Day.

The first Rare Disease Day was held on 29 February 2008 in numerous European nations and in Canada through the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, organized by EURORDIS. The date was chosen because February 29 is a “rare day,” and 2008 was the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Orphan Drug Act in the United States. Individuals observing Rare Disease Day took part in walks and press conferences to raise public awareness of rare diseases, organized fundraisers, and wrote en masse to government representatives; health-related non-profit organizations across numerous countries also held events, gatherings, and campaigns. The day also included an open session of the European Parliament specifically dedicated to discussing policy issues relating to rare diseases The days leading up to Rare Disease Day included other policy-related events in numerous locations, such as a reception in the British Parliament where policymakers met with individuals with rare diseases to discuss issues such as “equal access and availability of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.

In 2009 Rare Disease Day was observed for the first time in Panama, Colombia, Argentina, Australia, the People’s Republic of China, and the United States, when NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders) signed on to coordinate Rare Disease Day on February 28 and collaborated with media partner The Discovery Channel and program partner Mystery Diagnosis as well about 180 other partners, to organize activities across the country for the observance of Rare Disease Day. Several United States state governments issued proclamations regarding Rare Disease Day. In Europe, over 600 patient advocacy and support organizations, again coordinated by EURORDIS, also planned events. Rare Disease Day 2012 is the fifth to be observed and since 2012 is a leap year, this is the second time the day falls on the originally intended date (February 29, a Wednesday). Each year, the global planning committee, under the leadership of EURORDIS and with NORD as the US representative, selects a theme to be used around the world. For 2012, the theme is “Solidarity” and the slogan is “Rare But Strong Together”. Other members of the global planning committee include representatives from the national rare disease alliances in several European countries. Thousands of patient advocacy organizations have become involved, including more than 600 partners working with NORD in the US to promote Rare Disease Day

Posted in films & DVD, Television

Penguins – Spy in the Huddle

I would also like to get the fascinating Documentary Penguins Spy in the Huddle which is latest BBC series from the makers of Earthflight and Polar Bear Spy on the Ice. Narrated by David Tennant and released on 8th April 2013. This time the makers travel to Antarctica and the southern oceans and By using things like ‘penguin cams’ and ‘egg cams’ they are able to get some really close up shots of the penguins from right inside their nesting grounds making this excellent to watch.

The series follows the Rockhoppers in the Falklands, and the Humboldts in Peru and the Emperor Penguins in Antarctica who have the most incredible life story of any bird. Just as Polar Bear Spy on the Ice changed the way we look at an iconic subject, the spycameras give the emperor penguin s amazing story a fresh perspective. The Humboldt penguin lives in the hot desert regions of Peru and its problems have more to do with heat than cold. The rockhopper, which is one of the more comical penguins nesting on cliffs in the Falklands islands, braving incredibly rough oceans to reach the shore. The trials and tribulations of these other penguins crosscut the narrative of the emperor penguin, highlighting the differences at the same stage in their lives. While the emperor Penguins huddle together to protect themselves against minus 60degree temperatures, Humboldt penguins are tolerating plus 40degrees in the driest desert on Earth! While Emperors are negotiating huge snowdrifts, rockhoppers are trying to jump up vertical cliffs, which looks fairly comical but makes for riveting viewing at times

During the series fifty different spycams were used to reveal the secret lives of nature’s most devoted parents as they first come to land looking for mates, lay their eggs, and then rear their young and it makes compulsive watching as the series reveals the joys of birth and the woes when things don’t go right. With eggs and young penguins being vulnerable they face a multitude of natural predators including Antarctic Skuas and Leopard Seals, and sometimes have to go to extreme lengths to survive with not all managing to make it to adulthood in the harsh conditions.

Posted in music

Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden)

eddieAdrian Smith, Guitarist with splendidly noisy English HeaVY metaL band Iron Maiden was born 27th February 1957. Iron Maiden hail from Leyton in east London and were formed in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter, Steve Harris. Since their inception, the band’s discography has grown to include a total of thirty-six albums: fifteen studio albums; ten live albums; four EPs; and seven compilations.

Pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Iron Maiden achieved success during the early 1980s. After several line-up changes, the band went on to release a series of U.S. and UK platinum and gold albums, including 1982’s The Number of the Beast, 1983’s Piece of Mind, 1984’s Powerslave, 1985’s live release Live After Death, 1986’s Somewhere in Time and 1988’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Since the return of lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith in 1999, the band have undergone a resurgence in popularity, with their latest studio offering, The Final Frontier, peaking at No. 1 in 28 different countries and receiving widespread critical acclaim.

Considered one of the most successful heavy metal bands in history, Iron Maiden have sold over 85 million records worldwide with little radio or television support. The band won the Ivor Novello Award for international achievement in 2002, and were also inducted into the Hollywood RockWalk in Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California during their United States tour in 2005. As of August 2011, the band have played almost 2000 live shows throughout their career. For the past 30 years, the band have been supported by their famous mascot, “Eddie”, who has appeared on almost all of their album and single covers, as well as in their live shows.

Posted in books, films & DVD

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Directed by Stephen Chbosky and Based on his somewhat controversial 1999 novel of the same name, I’ve recently watched the wonderfully observed coming-of-age drama “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” again, Set in Pittsburgh in 1991 and starring Dylan McDermott, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Kate Walsh, Logan Lerman, Nina Dobrev and Paul Rudd, it follows the life of a young chap named Charlie, (Logan Lermanm) an aspiring writer who is still not over a friend’s suicide, and a traumatic experience with an aunt (Melanie Lynskey), who arrives at a new High School in suburban Pittsburgh without friends, any idea how to make them and is taken under the wing of hip free spirited senior student Sam (Emma Watson) and her Gay catty and bitchy stepbrother Patrick (Ezra Miller). Sensing a kindred spirit, they invite Charlie to a house party, and he slots into their oddball social circle – “The Island of Misfit Toys,” as Sam calls it, who listen to bands like the Smiths and Dexy’s Midnight Runners, record mixtapes for each other, he soon becomes best friends with Patrick and starts to have feeliings for Sam and finds the resulting emotional triangle just as painful and complex as the loneliness he’d left behind.

The group’s tribulations ring toe-curlingly true, and Charlie’s unrequited crush on Sam in particular is depicted with merciless accuracy. During the film they also host Rocky Horror Picture Show productions at the local fleapit with Emma playing the part made famous by Susan Sarandon. However Her carefree persona is clearly a front, as at one point she asks Charlie: ‘Why do I, and everyone I love, pick people who treat us like we’re nothing’. The flim also stars Nina Dobrev as Charlie’s older sister, Paul Rudd, as an English teacher who befriends Charlie and Mae Whitman, who plays an irascible young Buddhist with a soft spot for Charlie. The novel was originally done with letters (As in written communications) and provoked some controversy on it’s release with its frank handling of the harsh realities of sexual identity, drug use, mental illness, homosexuality, child Abuse, Loneliness and the scars left by emotional wounds. I enjoyed this film thanks to Chbosky’s insightful script, which has a rare generosity of spirit, and also the superb young cast, who conjour a gang of textured individuals, and handle powerful issues responsibly.

Posted in books, films & DVD

Tribute to John Steinbeck

American author John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was Born February 27, 1902 in Salinas California, He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937). As the author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and five collections of short stories, Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939 and won the annual National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize and was cited prominently when he won the Nobel Prize in 1962. Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in financial and agricultural industries. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they were trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California. Along with thousands of other “Okies”, they sought jobs, land, dignity, and a future.The Grapes of Wrath is frequently read in American high school and college literature classes due to its historical context and enduring legacy. A celebrated Hollywood film version, starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford, was made in 1940.

js-eoeEast of Eden is Often described as Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel East of Eden is set primarily between the beginning of the 20th century and the end of World War I, It is the story of warmhearted inventor and farmer Samuel Hamilton his wife Liza, and their nine children who live on a rough, infertile piece of land in the Salinas Valley, California,. As the Hamilton children begin to grow up and leave the nest, a wealthy stranger, Adam Trask, purchases the best ranch in the Valley, Adam joined the military and then wandered the country until He was caught for vagrancy, escaped from a chain gang and burgled a store for clothing to use as a disguise. Then he learns that his father has died and left him an inheritance of $50,000.

A parallel story introduces a girl named Cathy Ames, who grows up in a town not far from the brothers’ family farm who is cold, cruel, and utterly incapable of feeling for anyone but herself. She leaves home after killing both of her parents. Finally, she is viciously beaten by a pimp and is left close to death on the brothers’ doorstep. Although Charles Hamilton is repulsed by her, Adam, unaware of her past, falls in love with and marries her and goes to California where he settles with the pregnant Cathy in the Salinas Valley, near the Hamilton family ranch. Cathy does not want to be a mother or to stay in California, but Adam is so ecstatically happy with his new life that he does not realize there is any problem. Shortly after Cathy gives birth to twin boys, she shoots Adam in the shoulder and flees. Adam recovers, but remains in a deep and terrible depression until he becomes good friends with Cantonese Cook Lee and Samuel Hamilton and learns the story of Cain & Abel and the Hebrew word “Timshel” which means “thou mayest” suggesting that mankind is neither compelled to pursue sainthood nor doomed to sin, but rather has the power to choose.

Meanwhile, Cathy has become a prostitute and embarks on a devious plan to ingratiate herself with the owner, murder her and inherit the business. She makes her new brothel infamous and is not concerned that Adam might look for her, and has no feelings her children Caleb and Aron – echoing Cain and Abel – who grow up oblivious of their mother’s situation. Aron then meets a girl named Abra and the two fall in love. Soon after Samuel Hamilton passes away but Adam is inspired by the memory of his inventiveness. As the boys reach the end of their school days, Caleb decides to pursue a career in farming and Aron goes to college to become an Episcopalian priest. Soon Caleb discovers that his mother is alive and the head of a brothel. Caleb then goes into business with Will Hamilton, as an automobile dealer and also makes a fortune selling beans grown in the Salinas Valley. A successful Aron returns from Stanford for the holiday. intending to drop out of college and Caleb takes Aron to see their mother, who Wracked with self-hatred, signs her estate over to Aron, who then enlists in the army to fight in World War I, but is killed in battle and Adam is overcome with grief. A now bedridden Adam is asked to forgive his only remaining son, responds by giving Caleb his blessing in the form of the word Timshel.

Of Mice and Men tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in California, USA.Based on Steinbeck’s own experiences as a bindlestiff in the 1920s (before the arrival of the Okies he would vividly describe in The Grapes of Wrath), the title is taken from Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse”, which read: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.” (The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry.). John Steinbeck sadly passed away on December 20th, 1968. however his novels are regarded as classics by many, and are Required reading in many schools. Of Mice and Men has also been a frequent target of censors for vulgarity and what some consider offensive and racist language; consequently, it appears on the American Library Association’s list of the Most Challenged Books of 21st Century.

Posted in music

Ronnie van Zant (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Ronnie van Zant, the lead singer with Lynyrd Skynyrd was born 15 January 1959. Best known for popularizing the Southern hard rock genre during the 1970s Lynyrd Skynyrd were Originally formed In the summer of 1964, when teenage friends Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, and Gary Rossington formed the band “The Noble Five” in Jacksonville, Florida. The band changed in 1965 to “My Backyard”, when Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns joined. In 1968, the group won a local Battle of the Bands contest and the opening slot on several Southeast shows for the California-based psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock. the group eventually settled on the name “Leonard Skinner”, a mocking tribute to a physical-education teacher at Robert E. Lee High School, Leonard Skinner, who was notorious for strictly enforcing the school’s policy against boys having long hair.

During the 1970′s the band experienced many line-up changes and in 1972 the band was discovered at one of their shows at a club in Atlanta, GA. They soon changed the spelling of their name to “Lynyrd Skynyrd”and their fan base continued to grow rapidly throughout 1973, largely due to their opening slot on The Who’s Quadrophenia tour in the United States. Their 1974 follow-up, Second Helping, was the band’s breakthrough hit, and featured their most popular single, “Sweet Home Alabama” helping them rise to worldwide recognition. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s third album, Nuthin’ Fancy, was released in 1975 and the fourth album Gimme Back My Bullets was released in January 1976, but did not achieve the same success as the previous two albums. Steve Gaines joined the band in June 1976 and the newly-reconstituted band recorded the double-live album One More From the Road at the Fox Theatre (Atlanta, Georgia) in Atlanta, and performed at the Knebworth festival, which also featured The Rolling Stones. The next album 1977′s Street Survivors turned out to be a showcase for guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines and included the iconic rock anthem “Free Bird”.

Sadly though, On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, and at the peak of their success, three members (Including Gaines) all died in an airplane crash, Following the crash and the ensuing press, Street Survivors became the band’s second platinum album and reached No. 5 on the U.S. album chart. The single “What’s Your Name” reached No. 13 on the single airplay charts in January 1978. Surviving members re-formed in 1987 for a reunion tour with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother Johnny as frontman. A version of the band continues to tour and record, with only Gary Rossington of its original members remaining as of 2012. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006

Posted in books, films & DVD

Tribute to Victor Hugo

French poet, novelist, and dramatistVictor Marie Hugo was born 26 February 1802 in Besançon, France. Hugo’s childhood was a period of national political turmoil. Napoléon was proclaimed Emperor two years after Hugo’s birth, and the Bourbon Monarchy was restored before his eighteenth birthday. The opposing political and religious views of Hugo’s parents reflected the forces that would battle for supremacy in France throughout his life. Since Hugo’s father was an officer in the army, the family moved frequently and Hugo learned much from these travels. On a childhood family trip to Naples, Hugo saw the vast Alpine passes and the snowy peaks, the magnificently blue Mediterranean, and Rome during its festivities.ugo published his first novel the year following his marriage (Han d’Islande, 1823), and his second three years later (Bug-Jargal, 1826). Between 1829 and 1840 he would publish five more volumes of poetry (Les Orientales, 1829; Les Feuilles d’automne, 1831; Les Chants du crépuscule, 1835; Les Voix intérieures, 1837; and Les Rayons et les ombres, 1840), cementing his reputation as one of the greatest elegiac and lyric poets of his time.Like many young writers of his generation, Hugo was profoundly influenced by François-René de Chateaubriand, the famous figure in the literary movement of Romanticism and France’s preeminent literary figure during the early 19th century. In his youth, Hugo resolved to be “Chateaubriand or nothing,” and his life would come to parallel that of his predecessor in many ways. Like Chateaubriand, Hugo would further the cause of Romanticism, become involved in politics as a champion of Republicanism, and be forced into exile due to his political stances.

The precocious passion and eloquence of Hugo’s early work brought success and fame at an early age. His first collection of poetry (Odes et poésies diverses) was published in 1822, when Hugo was only twenty years old, and earned him a royal pension from Louis XVIII. Though the poems were admired for their spontaneous fervor and fluency, it was the collection that followed four years later in 1826 (Odes et Ballades) that revealed Hugo to be a great poet, a natural master of lyric and creative song.Victor Hugo’s first mature work of fiction appeared in 1829, and reflected the acute social conscience that would infuse his later work. Le Dernier jour d’un condamné (The Last Day of a Condemned Man) would have a profound influence on later writers such as Albert Camus, Charles Dickens, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Claude Gueux, a documentary short story about a real-life murderer who had been executed in France, appeared in 1834, and was later considered by Hugo himself to be a precursor to his great work on social injustice, Les Misérables. Hugo’s first full-length novel would be the enormously successful Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), which was published in 1831 and quickly translated into other languages across Europe. One of the effects of the novel was to shame the City of Paris into restoring the much-neglected Cathedral of Notre Dame, which was attracting thousands of tourists who had read the popular novel. The book also inspired a renewed appreciation for pre-Renaissance buildings, which thereafter began to be actively preserved. Hugo also began planning a major novel about social misery and injustice as early as the 1830s, but it would take a full 17 years for Les Misérables to be realized and finally published in 1862.

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME

The story begins on Epiphany (6 January), 1482, the day of the Feast of Fools in Paris, France. Quasimodo, a deformed hunchback who is the bell-ringer of Notre Dame, is introduced by his crowning as the Pope of Fools.Esmeralda, a beautiful Gypsy with a kind and generous heart, captures the hearts of many men, including those of Captain Phoebus and Pierre Gringoire, a poor street poet, but especially those of Quasimodo and his adoptive father, Claude Frollo, the Archdeacon of Notre Dame. Frollo is torn between his obsessive love and the rules of the church. He orders Quasimodo to kidnap her, but the hunchback is suddenly captured by Phoebus and his guards who save Esmeralda.

Quasimodo is sentenced to be flogged and turned on the pillory for one hour, followed by another hour’s public exposure. He calls for water. Esmeralda, seeing his thirst, offers him a drink. It saves him, and she captures his heart.Esmeralda is later charged with the attempted murder of Phoebus, whom Frollo actually attempted to kill in jealousy after seeing him about to have sex with Esmeralda, and is tortured and sentenced to death by hanging. As she is being led to the gallows, Quasimodo swings down by the bell rope of Notre Dame and carries her off to the cathedral under the law of sanctuary. Frollo later informs Pierre Gringoire that the Court of Parliament has voted to remove Esmeralda’s right to sanctuary so she can no longer seek shelter in the church and will be taken from the church and killed. Clopin, a street performer, hears the news from Gringoire and rallies the Truands (criminals of Paris) to charge the cathedral and rescue Esmeralda.When Quasimodo sees the Truands, he assumes they are there to hurt Esmeralda, so he drives them off. Likewise, he thinks the King’s men want to rescue her, and tries to help them find her. She is rescued by Frollo and her phony husband Gringoire. But after yet another failed attempt to win her love, Frollo betrays Esmeralda by handing her to the troops and watches while she is being hanged.When Frollo laughs during Esmeralda’s hanging, Quasimodo pushes him from the heights of Notre Dame to his death.

Les Misérables

Les Misérables  remains Hugo’s most enduringly popular work. It is popular worldwide, and has been adapted for cinema, television and stage shows. The story begins in 1815 in Digne, as the peasant Jean Valjean, is released from Toulon prison by Inspector Javert after spending 19 years imprisoned for stealing bread. Myriel The Bishop of Digne is the only person to offer the convict food and shelter, and saves his life when he is caught stealing the bishop’s silver. Valjean Promises Bishop Myriel to start a new life elsewhere.

Eight years later, Valjean has become a factory owner and mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer. Fantine , one of his workers, is dismissed by the foreman because of her illigitimate daughter Cossette and is forced to become a prostitute. However During an argument with an abusive customer, Javert, now a police inspector in Montreuil, arrests Fantine, but Valjean takes her to a hospital and promises a dying Fantine he will care for Cosette. After a brief confrontation with Javert, Valjean flees and pays innkeeper Madame Thénardier and her dodgy husband to take Cosette in and raise her.sadly though they mistreat Cosette while indulging their own destitute daughter Éponine.

Nine years later, Paris is in turmoil because Jean Maximilien Lamarque, the only man in the government who shows any sympathy for the poor, is nearing death. So a street urchin named Gavroche, incites the prostitutes and beggars to take action, while a student revolutionary and young firebrand named Marius Pontmercy and his friend Enjolras organize a group of idealistic students to protest against the Governments treatment of the poor. While organising the protest Marius becomes friends with the Thenardiers’ daughter, Éponine, then he meets Cosette and they fall in love. Later The Thénardiers gang are prevented from robbing Valjean and Cosettes ‘s house by Javert, who does not recognise Valjean until after he escapes. Valjean refuses to tell Cosette about his past or Fantine and decides to flee Paris with Cosette. Later, Éponine laments that her love for Marius will never be reciprocated as he joins the other students who are preparing for the upcoming conflict; while Javert briefs his soldiers as he reveals his plans to spy on the students.

With the June Rebellion underway, the students interrupt Lamarque’s funeral and begin their assault on the army. They build a barricade when Javert, disguised as one of the rebels, volunteers to “spy” on the government troops. When Javert lies that the government will attack the next morning, he is exposed as a spy. Éponine, mortally wounded, returns to the barricades and professes her love for Marius before her death. Valjean, searching for Marius in the barricades, saves Enjolras. Despite being allowed to execute Javert, Valjean tells the inspector that he is not in his debt. As the students reminisce for the night, Valjean prays to God to save Marius from the oncoming assault.Although most Parisians have abandoned the rebels, Enjolras resolves to fight on, however When Gavroche is killed, Enjolras and the students realize they could end up paying a heavy price if they resist and some escape into the sewers hotly pursued by Javert and his men

The shortest correspondence in history is said to have been between Hugo and his publisher Hurst and Blackett Following the publication of Les Misérables in 1862. Hugo was on vacation when. He queried the reaction to the work by sending a single-character telegram to his publisher, asking “?”. The publisher replied with a single “!” to indicate its success.After the success of Les Misérables Hugo turned away from social/political issues for his next novel, Les Travailleurs de la Mer (Toilers of the Sea), published in 1866, which depicts Man’s battle with the sea and the horrible creatures lurking beneath its depths and this spawned an unusual fad in Paris: Squids. From squid dishes and exhibitions, to squid hats and parties, Parisians became fascinated by these unusual sea creatures, which at the time were still considered by many to be mythical. Hugo returned to political and social issues in his next novel, L’Homme Qui Rit (The Man Who Laughs), which was published in 1869 and painted a critical picture of the aristocracy.His last novel, Quatre-vingt-treize (Ninety-Three), published in 1874, dealt with a subject that Hugo had previously avoided: the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Though Hugo’s popularity was on the decline at the time of its publication, many now consider Ninety-Three to be a work on par with Hugo’s better-known novels.

Victor Hugo sadly passed away 22 May 1885 but To this day Hugo is still considered one of the most well-known French Romantic writers. In France, Hugo’s literary fame comes first from his poetry but also rests upon his novels and his dramatic achievements. Among many volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and Notre-Dame de Paris, 1831 (known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame).