Tribute to Van Gogh & Happy Birthday “Slowhand”

Vincent_van_Gogh_sunflowers

Dutch post-Impressionist painter Vincent Willem van Gogh was born 30th March 1853, his work is notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty and bold color, had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art. After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, he died aged 37 from a gunshot wound, generally accepted to be self-inflicted (although no gun was ever found).His work was then known to only a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still.Van Gogh began to draw as a child, and he continued to draw throughout the years that led up to his decision to become an artist. He did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during the last two years of his life. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints. His work included self portraits, landscapes, still lifes, portraits and paintings of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers.

Van Gogh spent his early adulthood working for a firm of art dealers, traveling between The Hague, London and Paris, after which he taught for a time in England. One of his early aspirations was to become a pastor and from 1879 he worked as a missionary in a mining region in Belgium where he began to sketch people from the local community. In 1885, he painted his first major work The Potato Eaters. His palette at the time consisted mainly of somber earth tones and showed no sign of the vivid coloration that distinguished his later work. In March 1886, he moved to Paris and discovered the French Impressionists. Later, he moved to the south of France and was influenced by the strong sunlight he found there. His work grew brighter in color, and he developed the unique and highly recognizable style that became fully realized during his stay in Arles in 1888. The extent to which his mental health affected his painting has been a subject of speculation since his death. Despite a widespread tendency to romanticize his ill health, modern critics see an artist deeply frustrated by the inactivity and incoherence brought about by his bouts of illness. According to art critic Robert Hughes, Van Gogh’s late works show an artist at the height of his ability, completely in control and “longing for concision and grace”. Van Goch sadly passed away 29 July 1890 at the age of 37 years old in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIC CLAPTON

British guitarist with The Yardbirds and Cream as well as highly successful solo artist Eric Clapton,was born 30th March 1945

THE CREAM OF ERIC CLAPTON

Happy Birthday Graeme Edge (Moody Blues)

Graeme Edge, British drummer and songwriter with the Moody Blues was born 30th March 1941. The Moody Blues formed on 4 May 1964, in Erdington, Birmingham, England containing Ray Thomas, John Lodge, Graeme Edge and Michael Pinder The name developed from a hoped-for sponsorship from the M&B Brewery which failed to materialise and was also a subtle reference to the Duke Ellington song, “Mood Indigo. They released a single, “Steal Your Heart Away” in 1964 and appeared on the cult UK series “Ready Steady Go!” singing the uptempo “Lose Your Money (But Don’t Lose your Mind)”. But it was their second single, “Go Now” which launched their career & became a hit in the United Kingdom. Their debut album The Magnificent Moodies had a strong Merseybeat/R&B flavour. It contained the hit singles “Go Now” and “Bye Bye Bird” together with one side of classic R&B covers. including a cover of “I Don’t Want To Go On Without You”,”From The Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)”, “Everyday”,”This is My House (But Nobody Calls)” and and “Boulevard de la Madeleine”.

MOODY BLUES GREATEST HITS

The group  released the singles “Fly Me High” and “Really Haven’t Got the Time” in 1967 followed by “Love And Beauty” & “Leave This Man Alone”. The Moody Blues were then offered a deal to make a rock and roll version of Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony, and although executives were initially skeptical about the hybrid style of the resulting concept album. Days of Future Past  became one of the most successful pop/rock releases of the period, earning a gold record award. It takes place over the course of a single day & drew inspiration from the pioneering use of the classical instrumentation by The Beatles. It includes the songs “Nights in White Satin” & “The Sun Set” “Another Morning”, “Twilight Time”,”Peak Hour” and “Evening (Time To Get Away)”. The 1968 follow-up LP, In Search of the Lost Chord included the songs “Legend of a Mind”,”House of Four Doors”,”Voices in the Sky”, “Ride My See-Saw” and “The Best Way To Travel”.

The 1969 album On the Threshold of a Dream contained the songs “In The Beginning”,”Lovely To See You”,”Never Comes The Day”,”Dear Diary” and “Lazy Day”,”So Deep Within You”,”The Dream”&”Have You Heard”. The band’s music continued to become more complex and symphonic,resulting in 1969′s To Our Children’s Children’s Children which was inspired by the first moon landing.and contained the songs “Higher And Higher” “Floating” and “Eternity Road” “Gypsy”,”Out And In” the two part “Eyes of A Child” and “Candle of Life””Sun is Still Shining”. and “Watching and Waiting”. the Moodies had a somewhat psychedelic style and progressive rock sound, the group next album was A Question of Balance (1970) & contained the songs “Question” and “Melancholy Man”. For their next two albums, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971) and “Seventh Sojourn”the band returned to their signature orchestral sound.These contained the songs “Procession”, “Story in Your Eyes” “Our Guessing Game”,”You Can Never Go Home”, “One More Time To Live”, “My Song” and “Nice To Be Here”. The Album “After You Came” (1971) featured “Isn’t Life Strange ?” “I’m Just A Singer (in A Rock ‘n’ Roll Band)”,”Sojourn”,”Lost in A Lost World” “When You’re A Free Man”, “For My Lady”, and “New Horizons”. In late 1972, a re-issue of the five-year-old Nights in White Satin became the Moody Blues’ biggest US hit.

The Moodies were also among the pioneers of the idea that a successful rock band could promote itself through their own label, so following the Beatles’ creation of Apple Records, they created Threshold Records. However it proved unsuccessful although They did lay the groundwork for other major acts to set up similar personal labels and distribution deals including The Rolling Stones’ own label and Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song Record label.In the spring of 1974, after completing a vast world tour that culminated with a tour of Asia, the group took an extended break and released a compilation album This Is The Moody Blues. Justin Hayward and John Lodge then released the album, Blue Jays, and a single, “Blue Guitar”. Mike Pinder released a album The Promise.” Edge produced two albums with guitarist Adrian Gurvitz, Kick Off Your Muddy Boots and Paradise Ballroom; Hayward composed the albums Songwriter, followed by Night Flight, Moving Mountains, Classic Blue, The View From The Hill and Live In San Juan Capistrano; Lodge released Natural Avenue; Pinder produced The Promise; and Thomas produced From Mighty Oaks and Hopes, Wishes and Dreams. In 1977, the group reunited and despite many problems The album Octave was released in 1978 contining “Steppin’ in a Slide Zone” & “Driftwood”. Around this time Justin Hayward enjoyed a solo hit with the song “Forever Autumn” from Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.The Moodies toured the US and Europe during much of 1979. The next album ,Long Distance Voyager,was released in 1981 and yielded two hits, “The Voice” &”Gemini Dream”. and the band embraced a more modern, less symphonic approach, while still retaining a lush keyboard-led sound. The next album The Present yeilded the singles “Blue World” and”Sitting at the Wheel”. In 1986 they released the album The Other Side of Life, containing “Your Wildest Dreams”which garnered a Billboard Video of the Year award,as well as the songs “House of Four Doors”, “Candle of Life” and “One More Time To Live” “Here Comes The Weekend”, “Rock and Roll Over You”, “Love is On The Run (From Me)”, “The Actor”, “Dawning is the Day”, “You Can Never Go Home”& “The Land of Make Believe”. The Moody Blues also performed live at the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986 which raised money for the Birmingham Children’s Hospitals, and also provided backup with the Electric Light Orchestra for George Harrison.The Moodies released Sur La Mer in 1988 containing the single, “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”.

In 1991 they released the album Keys of the Kingdom contained the songs “Say It With Love”, “Never Blame The Rainbows For The Rain”,”Bless the Wings (That Bring You Back)”,”Magic” “Shadows On the Wall” “Lean On Me (Tonight)”and “Say What You Mean.”They also played at the Montreux Jazz Festival and remained. a steady concert draw, They also made a series of recordings of their Night at Red Rocks concert.The next album Strange Times, was released in 1999 with the songs”English Sunset”,”Nothing Changes” and”This is The Moment”.The Moody Blues also appeared in one episode of “The Simpsons” called “Viva Ned Flanders”.In 2000, the band released “Hall of Fame”, a new live concert from Royal Albert Hall. In 2001, an IMAX film was released, entitled Journey into Amazing Caves. In 2006, the first five of the band’s ‘Core Seven’ albums ( Days of Future Passed to Seventh Sojourn) were re-released featuring bonus songs and previously unreleased tracks.Remastered versions of Octave, Long Distance Voyager and The Present soon followed. The Moodies also released a compilation of sessions recorded at BBC Studios, rarities & various TV appearances, entitled Live at the BBC: 1967-1970.  The Moody Blues have sold more than 70 million albums worldwide and have been awarded 14 platinum and gold discs. As of 2012 they remain active and continue to tour, Hayward also tours with Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.

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RECENT BIRTHDAYS

born 30th March 1962 – MC Hammer, American rapper
born 30th March 1968 – Celine Dion, Canadian singer
born 30th March 1979 – Norah Jones, American singer-songwriter and actress

Tribute to “Cuddly” Dudley Moore

Best known as being one half of classic comedy duo Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, The late great English actor, comedian and composer Dudley Moore CBE, sadly passed away 27th March 2002. Born 19th April in 1935, He  first came to prominence as one of the four writer-performers in the ground-breaking comedy revue Beyond the Fringe in the early 1960s, and then became famous as half of the highly popular television double-act he formed with Peter Cook.   His fame as a comedy film actor was later heightened by success in hit Hollywood films such as 10 with Bo Derek and Arthur in the late 1970s and early 1980s, respectively. He received an Oscar nomination for the latter role. He was frequently referred to in the media as “Cuddly Dudley” or “The Sex Thimble”, a reference to his short stature and reputation as a “ladies’ man”.

He had a prolific film career and appeared in many other films too including The Wrong Box, Bedazzled, 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia, The Bed-Sitting Room, Monte Carlo or Bust, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Foul Play, 10, Derek and Clive Get the Horn, Wholly Moses! Arthur, Six Weeks, Lovesick, Romantic Comedy, Unfaithfully Yours, Micki + Maude, Best Defense, Santa Claus: The Movie Like Father Like Son Arthur 2: On the Rocks The Adventures of Milo and Otis, Crazy People, Blame It on the Bellboy, Really Wild Animals, Dudley Daddy’s Girls, Parallel Lives, The Disappearance of Kevin Johnson and The Mighty Kong.   Sadly On 30 September 1999, Moore announced that he was suffering from the terminal degenerative brain disorder progressive supranuclear palsy, some of whose early symptoms were so similar to intoxication that he had been accused of being drunk, and that the illness had been diagnosed earlier in the year.

In June 2001, Moore was appointed a Commander of the Order of The British Empire (CBE) and Despite his deteriorating condition, he attended the ceremony, mute and wheelchair-bound, at Buckingham Palace to collect his honour   He died on 27 March 2002, as a result of pneumonia, secondary to immobility caused by the palsy, in Plainfield, New Jersey. Rena Fruchter was holding his hand when he died, and she reported his final words were, “I can hear the music all around me.” Moore was interred in Hillside Cemetery in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Fruchter later wrote a memoir of their relationship (Dudley Moore, Ebury Press, 2004).   In December 2004, the Channel 4 television station in the United Kingdom broadcast Not Only But Always, a TV movie dramatising the relationship between Moore and Cook, although the principal focus of the production was on Cook. Around the same time the relationship between the two was also the subject of a stage play called Pete and Dud: Come Again.

Snow Patrol

Mark McClelland, Irish musician with Snow Patrol, Little Doses, and The Reindeer Section was born 30th March 1976. Formed at the University of Dundee in 1994. Snow Patrol comprises Gary Lightbody (vocals, guitar), Jonny Quinn (drums), Nathan Connolly (guitar, backing vocals), Paul Wilson (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Tom Simpson (keyboards). Initially an indie rock band, their first three records, the EP Starfighter Pilot (1997), and the studio albums Songs for Polarbears (1998) and When It’s All Over We Still Have to Clear Up (2001), were commercially unsuccessful and were released by the independent labels Electric Honey and Jeepster respectively. The band then signed on to the major record label Polydor Records in 2002.

Snow Patrol rose to national fame with their major label debut, Final Straw, in 2003. The album was certified 5× platinum in the UK and eventually sold over 3 million copies worldwide thanks to songs like Run. Their next studio album, Eyes Open, (2006) and its hit single “Chasing Cars,” propelled the band to greater international fame. The album topped the UK Album Charts and was the best-selling British album of the year, selling over 6 million copies worldwide. In 2008, the band released their fifth studio album A Hundred Million Suns, then in 2009 their first compilation album, Up to Now and in 2011 they released their sixth studio album Fallen Empires. During the course of their career, Snow Patrol have won five Meteor Ireland Music Awards and have been nominated for three BRIT Awards. Since the release of Final Straw, the band have sold over ten million albums worldwide.

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday (Latin: Sabbatum Sanctum), sometimes known as Easter Eve or Black Saturday, is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter. It commemorates the day that Jesus Christ’s body laid in the tomb.It is sometimes erroneously referred to as Easter Saturday: this phrase is correctly applied to the Saturday in Easter Week and is the religious observance of Christians and is the immediate Saturday before Easter Sunday. It is known as the Holy Saturday because it is a part of the Holy week 2012 in which the Easter celebrations are being held. It is also known as the Easter Vigil, which is mainly the name given to the Saturday night, the night before the Easter Sunday. The religious belief in Christianity arose from the events and stories in the Bible and other religious literatures.

“…Always look on the bright side of life…”

Best known for his parts in the Monty Python Television Series and Films, the actor, writer and composer Eric Idle was born 29th March 1943. Eric Idle  joined British sketch comedy series Monty Python alongside Graham Chapman , John Cleese, Terry Jones and Michael Palin,

The first episode of British sketch comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on BBC One on the 5th October 1969 and there were 45 Episodes spread over four seasons until December 1974 on BBC Television. The comedy was often pointedly intellectual, with numerous erudite references to philosophers and literary figures. The series followed and elaborated upon the style used by Spike Milligan in his groundbreaking series Q5.  The team intended their humour to be impossible to categorise, and succeeded so completely that the adjective “Pythonesque” was invented to define it.

The shows were composed of surreality, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines. They also featured Terry Gilliam’s wonderful and imaginatively bizarre animations, often sequenced or merged with live action. Broadcast by the BBC. with 45 episodes airing over four series from 1969 to 1974, The show often targets the idiosyncrasies of British life, especially that of professionals, and is at times politically charged, and over the years many of the sketches have attained classic status including The Lumberjack Song, Ministry of Silly Walks, Upper class twit of the Year,Spam song, The Dead Parrot Sketch (Bleedin’ demised, Joined the choir invisible 😀  and Bicycle Repair Man.  The members of Monty Python were all highly educated. Terry Jones and Michael Palin are Oxford University graduates; Eric Idle, John Cleese, and Graham Chapman attended Cambridge University; and American-born member Terry Gilliam is an Occidental College graduate. Chapman also played the lead roles in two of the Python’s Films – Monty Python and The Holy Grail Life of Brian

Eric Idle also appeared in the the children’s series Do Not Adjust Your Set, alongside Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam’s surreal animations which linked the show’s sketches together, and defined Monty Python’s visual language in other media (such as LP and book covers, and the title sequences of their films). Since Monty Python split Idle has also appeared in Many films including Nuns on the Run and National Lampoons European Vacation.

Good Friday

N-s-dos-passosFriday 29th March 2013 is Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday which commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death. Good Friday is called so because Christians believe that Jesus sacrificed his life for the benefit of humanity and good of everyone at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of Passover. It is also known as Black Friday, Holy Friday, Great Friday, or Easter Friday,though the latter normally refers to the Friday in Easter week.

Easter falls on the first Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, the full moon on or after 21 March, taken to be the date of the vernal equinox. Based on the details of the Canonical gospels, the Crucifixion of Jesus was most likely to have been on a Friday (John 19:42). The estimated year of Good Friday is AD 33, by two different groups, and originally as AD 34 by Isaac Newton via the differences between the Biblical and Julian calendars and the crescent of the moon. A third method, using a completely different astronomical approach based on a lunar Crucifixion darkness and eclipse model (consistent with Apostle Peter’s reference to a “moon of blood” in Acts 2:20), points to Friday, 3 April AD 33. According to the accounts in the Gospels, the Temple Guards, guided by Jesus’ disciple Judas Iscariot, arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas received money (30 pieces of silver) (Matthew 26:14-16) for betraying Jesus and told the guards that whomever he kisses is the one they are to arrest. Following his arrest, Jesus is brought to the house of Annas, who is the father-in-law of the high priest, Caiaphas. There he is interrogated with little result and sent bound to Caiaphas the high priest where the Sanhedrin had assembled.

Conflicting testimony against Jesus is brought forth by many witnesses, to which Jesus answers nothing. Finally the high priest adjures Jesus to respond under solemn oath, saying “I adjure you, by the Living God, to tell us, are you the Anointed One, the Son of God?” Jesus testifies ambiguously, “You have said it, and in time you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty, coming on the clouds of Heaven.” The high priest condemns Jesus for blasphemy, and the Sanhedrin concurs with a sentence of death (Matthew 26:57-66). Peter, waiting in the courtyard, also denies Jesus three times to bystanders while the interrogations were proceeding just as Jesus had predicted.

In the morning, the whole assembly brings Jesus to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate under charges of subverting the nation, opposing taxes to Caesar, and making himself a king (Luke 23:1-2). Pilate authorizes the Jewish leaders to judge Jesus according to their own law and execute sentencing; however, the Jewish leaders reply that they are not allowed by the Romans to carry out a sentence of death (John 18:31). Pilate questions Jesus and tells the assembly that there is no basis for sentencing. Upon learning that Jesus is from Galilee, Pilate refers the case to the ruler of Galilee, King Herod, who was in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. Herod questions Jesus but receives no answer; Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate. Pilate tells the assembly that neither he nor Herod have found guilt in Jesus; Pilate resolves to have Jesus whipped and released (Luke 23:3-16). Under the guidance of the chief priests, the crowd asks for Barabbas, who had been imprisoned for committing murder during an insurrection. Pilate asks what they would have him do with Jesus, and they demand, “Crucify him” (Mark 15:6-14). Pilate’s wife had seen Jesus in a dream earlier that day, and she forewarns Pilate to “have nothing to do with this righteous man” (Matthew 27:19). Pilate has Jesus flogged and then brings him out to the crowd to release him. The chief priests inform Pilate of a new charge, demanding Jesus be sentenced to death “because he claimed to be God’s son.” This possibility filled Pilate with fear, and he brought Jesus back inside the palace and demanded to know from where he came (John 19:1-9).

Coming before the crowd one last time, Pilate declares Jesus innocent and washed his own hands in water to show he has no part in this condemnation. Nevertheless, Pilate hands Jesus over to be crucified in order to forestall a riot (Matthew 27:24-26) and ultimately to keep his job. The sentence written is “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Jesus carries his cross to the site of execution (assisted by Simon of Cyrene), called the place of the Skull, or “Golgotha” in Hebrew and in Latin “Calvary”. There he is crucified along with two criminals (John 19:17-22). Jesus agonizes on the cross for six hours. During his last 3 hours on the cross, from noon to 3 p.m., darkness falls over the whole land. With a loud cry, Jesus gives up his spirit. There is an earthquake, tombs break open, and the curtain in the Temple is torn from top to bottom. The centurion on guard at the site of crucifixion declares, “Truly this was God’s Son!” (Matthew 27:45-54)

Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin and secret follower of Jesus, who had not consented to his condemnation, goes to Pilate to request the body of Jesus (Luke 23:50-52). Another secret follower of Jesus and member of the Sanhedrin named Nicodemus brought about a hundred pound weight mixture of spices and helped wrap the body of Christ (John 19:39-40). Pilate asks confirmation from the centurion whether Jesus is dead (Mark 15:44). A soldier pierced the side of Jesus with a lance causing blood and water to flow out (John 19:34), and the centurion informs Pilate that Jesus is dead (Mark 15:45). Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body, wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and placed it in his own new tomb that had been carved in the rock (Matthew 27:59-60) in a garden near the site of crucifixion. Nicodemus (John 3:1) also brought 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes, and placed them in the linen with the body, in keeping with Jewish burial customs (John 19:39-40). They rolled a large rock over the entrance of the tomb (Matthew 27:60). Then they returned home and rested, because Shabbat had begun at sunset (Luke 23:54-56). On the third day, Sunday, which is now known as Easter Sunday (or Pascha), Jesus was resurrected from the dead.