The Great Gatsby

Having seen a few ther adaptations I would like to see the latest sumptuous film adaptation of The Great Gatsby directed by Baz Luhrman, which is finally out in cinemas Based on the classic novel by F.Scott Fitzgerald, It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke, Isla Fisher and Callum McAuliffe. It is the seventh adaptation of the book,  the best known Film version stars Robert Redford & Mia Farrow and if some of the reviews are anything to go by, this latest adaptation should have F. Scott Fitzgerald spinning in his grave, particularly the choice of music which is modern rather than being from the roaring twenties, however I would like to see the film for myself and make up my own mind.

The Great Gatsby is basically a love story in which a young chap named Jay Gatsby, né Jimmy Gatz,(DiCaprio) who starts off as a poor boy from a humble midwestern family, falls in love with Daisy Fay (Mulligan), the belle of Louisville, Kentucky, when he is stationed at the nearby army base as a young officer waiting to be deployed overseas in the months after the US entered the first world war. Gatsby wins Daisy’s heart and she promises to wait for him, but, as the months of his deployment drag on, her devotion wavers and she eventually marries the obscenely wealthy Tom Buchanan of Chicago.The novel opens in the summer of 1922; Gatsby has himself become rich, and bought a splendid house on Long Island Sound directly across the bay from the mansion which Tom and Daisy occupy. Gatsby gives lavish parties all summer, in the hope, it seems, of attracting the attention of Daisy, whom he has never stopped loving. Finally they are reunited through an aspiring writer named Nick Carraway (Maguire), a childhood friend of Daisy’s who happens to move in next door. Gatsby imagines that he can erase the past and win Daisy back; it becomes clear that the entire gaudy jazz-age facade he’s created has all been in the interest of recapturing his dream of Daisy and it is also gradually transpires that Gatsby’s wealth may have come from indulging in rather dodgy activities, including bootlegging – although Fitzgerald leaves the details extremely vague – a fact which Daisy’s husband Tom uses against him.

After a showdown in a Manhattan hotel room, Gatsby and Daisy jump in Gatsby’s car and Daisy, who is behind the wheel, runs down a pedestrian, who just happens to be her husband’s lover (Fisher), driving back to Long Island. The aggrieved husband of the dead woman, imagining that Gatsby is the culprit, shoots him while he is lounging in his pool.(I still haven’t worked out why the gunshot doesn’t puncture the lilo he is lounging on)?  The next day, and Tom and Daisy retreat into the impregnable sanctuary of their vast wealth, while Nick Carraway , the narrator, returns to the midwest, repelled and disillusioned by what he’s witnessed. Nick, the innocent bystander, is in fact integral to the story, not just as the witness and the moral conscience of the book.

Happy Birthday Krist Novoselic (NIRVANA & Foo fighters)

nirvana-nevermind-album-coverBest known for being the bassist and co-founder of the grunge band Nirvana, American rock musician Krist Anthony Novoselic was born May 16, 1965. Novoselic was  interested in bands such as Led Zeppelin, Devo, Black Sabbath, Van Halen and Aerosmith. He also enjoyed rock bands like Zabranjeno Pusenje, Prljavo Kazaliste and Azra. While in Yugoslavia, he picked up an interest in punk rock, and discovered bands such as the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. He has cited Paul McCartney, Geezer Butler, John Entwistle, and Gene Simmons as the fundamental influences of his bass playing. Sometime later, Novoselic’s brother Robert introduced him to his friend Kurt Cobain, who had noticed loud music coming from upstairs. Robert told Cobain that it was his older brother, who listened to punk rock. Cobain eventually befriended the elder Novoselic, as the pair ended up sharing similar musical tastes, including a fondness for local band The Melvins. The two had several mutual friends and began hanging out shortly thereafter. At one point, Cobain gave Novoselic a demo tape of his former band Fecal Matter, and asked him to form a band together. After several months, Novoselic finally listened to the tape, liked it, and agreed to start a band with Cobain.ometime later, Novoselic’s brother Robert introduced him to his friend Kurt Cobain, who had noticed loud music coming from upstairs. Robert told Cobain that it was his older brother, who listened to punk rock. Cobain eventually befriended the elder Novoselic, as the pair ended up sharing similar musical tastes, including a fondness for local band The Melvins. The two had several mutual friends and began hanging out shortly thereafter. At one point, Cobain gave Novoselic a demo tape of his former band Fecal Matter, and asked him to form a band together. After several months, Novoselic finally listened to the tape, liked it, and agreed to start a band with Cobain.

Cobain and Novoselic’s first band lasted barely a few weeks before it disbanded, leaving the pair to move on. However, the duo eventually discovered that the Melvins could pull $80 a night for one show. Inspired, Cobain and Novoselic started a Creedence Clearwater Revival cover band, in which Cobain played drums and Novoselic sang and played guitar. That band was short-lived as well. Some months later, Cobain and Novoselic met drummer Aaron Burckhard. While the new band never used the name, it was the first incarnation of Nirvana.Burckhard lasted only a few months and Melvins drummer Dale Crover filled in until Novoselic and Cobain met Chad Channing. The trio recorded their debut album Bleach, released in 1989. Channing left the band in 1990 and was briefly replaced by Crover and Mudhoney drummer Dan Peters.Later in 1990, Melvins singer-guitarist Buzz Osborne encouraged Novoselic and Cobain to check out a punk band called Scream. The pair were impressed by their drummer, Dave Grohl. A few weeks later, Scream disbanded, and Grohl placed a call to Osborne for advice. Osborne gave him Novoselic’s phone number, and Novoselic invited Grohl up to Seattle (from San Francisco, where Scream broke up). Grohl passed the audition and joined Nirvana. A few months later, in the spring of 1991, the band recorded their major label debut, Nevermind, which launched the band as a worldwide phenomenon with their hit single “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.Nirvana ended abruptly in April 1994 following Cobain’s death. For most of the rest of that year, Novoselic retreated from the spotlight. Novoselic and Cobain had been virtually inseparable for almost a decade, and the loss of his close friend was especially hard on him. One of few public appearances came that September at the MTV Video Music Awards, where the video for Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” was awarded for Best Alternative Video. Novoselic took the opportunity to pay tribute to his bandmate and best friend.

The following year, Novoselic continued to dabble in musical endeavors. He was offered the position of playing bass in a new band, the Foo Fighters, with friend and former bandmate Dave Grohl but both decided against it, because they believed people would think of Foo Fighters as a new incarnation of Nirvana. Novoselic instead formed the band Sweet 75 in 1995, releasing a single self-titled album in 1997. In 2002 he performed uncredited background vocals on The Foo Fighters song “Walking a Line”, written as a tribute to Cobain, during the One by One album sessions. The track is included on the One by One bonus DVD, as well as being a bonus track to the album.In 1998, Novoselic directed his first movie, L7: The Beauty Process, a pseudo-documentary that utilizes concert footage taped in 1997 in three American cities. In 1999, he joined Jello Biafraand former Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil in the No WTO Combo. He then joined former Meat Puppets front man Curt Kirkwood and former Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh to form Eyes Adrift, which disbanded in 2003. This band was significant as it was the first official release in his career where he sang lead vocals. He also took a highly active role in the song writing process, co-writing several songs with Kirkwood.Following the end of Eyes Adrift, Novoselic announced, that he was quitting the music business, noting that he disliked the process of building up publicity for new records. However, in recent years, Novoselic has occasionally worked on music for a possible solo album, noting, “Right now, I’m just doing it for myself, and that’s what it’s all about.”[10]In November 2006, it was announced, that Novoselic would join Flipper, replacing Bruno DeSmartas on bass, for a tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland.[11] He was a full-time member of the band and had been working on their new album. In September 22, 2008, because of responsibilities at home, Novoselic announced his departure from the band.[13] As a result, the band canceled the remainder of the tour. Rachel Thoele then replaced Novoselic. In 2009, he played a newspaper vendor in the movie World’s Greatest Dad starring Robin Williams. In October 2010, Dave Grohl, formerNirvana band mate of Novoselic, announced live on BBC radio, that Novoselic will be joining the Foo Fighters on their next album as a bassist and accordionist which was released in 2011: Wasting Light. Novoselic also played bass on children’s music artist Caspar Babypants’ (a.k.a. Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America’s) 2010 album This Is Fun!, for a cover of the Nirvana song “Sliver”.

Novoselic’s first experience with the Foo Fighters was participating in the encore of their show on August 29, 1997 at Memorial Stadiumas part of the Bumbershoot festival, where he played bass for the band’s covers of “Purple Rain” and “Communication Breakdown”.[18]In January 2002 he performed backing vocals for a non-album track titled “Walking a Line”, later released on a special edition of the band’s album One by One. Later, during the encore of the Foo Fighters’ secret show at Paladino’s in Tarzana, California on December 22, 2010, the band, with Grohl on drums was joined onstage by Novoselic and the band’s live guitarist Pat Smear for a version of Nirvana’s “Marigold” a 1992 Grohl original, which was also a B-side on Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box”, the first single from In Utero.Novoselic also recorded bass and accordion on the song “I Should Have Known”, appearing on the Foo Fighters’ 7th studio album called Wasting Light, released on April 12, 2011

Tribute to Liberace

liberaceBest Known for his extravagant stage shows and costumes, The late, great American Pianist Liberace was born 16th May in 1919. In a career that spanned four decades of concerts, recordings, motion pictures, television and endorsements, Liberace became world-renowned. During the 1950s–1970s he was the highest-paid entertainer in the world and embraced a lifestyle of flamboyant excess both on and off the stage. Liberace was born in West Allis, Wisconsin, a Milwaukee suburb, his father was a musician who played the French horn in bands and movie theaters and encouraged music in the family. Liberace began playing the piano at four and his father took his children to concerts to further expose them to music, Liberace’s prodigious talent was soon spotted. He memorized difficult pieces by age seven and studied the technique of the famous Polish pianist and later family friend Ignacy Paderewski who he met backstage at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee. He dreamed of following in Ignacy’s footstep, which inspired him to practice with even greater fervor.Liberace focused fiercely on his piano playing and blossomed under the instruction of music teacher Florence Kelly who guided his musical development for ten years. He gained experience playing popular music in theaters, on local radio, for dancing classes, for clubs, and for weddings. He played jazz with a school group called the “Mixers” in 1934. Liberace also performed in cabarets and strip clubs, and even though his parents did not approve, he was earning a tidy living during hard times. For a while he adopted the stage name “Walter Busterkeys” and also showed an interest in draftsmanship, design, and painting, and he became a fastidious dresser and follower of fashion and was showing a knack of turning his eccentricities into attention-getting virtuesIn a formal classical music competition in 1937, Liberace was praised for his “flair and showmanship”.

At the end of a traditional classical concert in La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1939, Liberace played his first requested encore, “Three Little Fishes”,  in the style of several different classical composers. The 20-year-old played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra , performing Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto, for which he received strong reviews. He also toured in the Midwest. Between 1942 and 1944, Liberace moved away from straight classical performance and reinvented his act and started featuring “pop with a bit of classics” or as he also called it “classical music with the boring parts left out.”by the mid- and late 1940s, he was performing in night clubs in major cities around the United States, largely abandoning the classical concertgoer. He changed from classical pianist to showman, unpredictably and whimsically mixing serious with light fare.In 1944, he made his first appearances in Las Vegas, which later became his principal performance venue. He was playing at the best clubs, finally appearing at the celebrated Persian Room in 1945. During this time, Liberace worked tirelessly to refine his act. He added the candelabrum as a signature prop and adopted “Liberace” as his stage name.

He dressed in white tie and tails to be better seen in large halls. Besides clubs and occasional work as an accompanist and rehearsal pianist, Liberace also played for private parties. By 1947, he was billing himself as “Liberace—the most amazing piano virtuoso of the present day.” he also bought a rare, over-sized, gold-leafed Blüthner Grand, which he hyped up in his press kit as a “priceless piano”. He also performed with an array of other extravagant, custom-decorated pianos, some encrusted with sequins and mirrors.Liberace also created a very successful publicity machine which helped rocket him to stardom.Despite his success in the supper-club circuit, his ambition was to reach larger audiences as a headliner and a television, movie, and recording star. Liberace began to expand his act and made it more extravagant, with more costumes and a larger supporting cast. His large-scale Las Vegas act became his hallmark, expanding his fan base dramatically, and he became very wealthy in the process.

Liberace moved onto television and had guest appearances on The Kate Smith Show & Cavalcade of Stars, However he soon wanted his own show, and His first show on local television in Los Angeles was a smash hit, earning the highest ratings of any local show. The fifteen-minute network television program, The Liberace Show, began on July 1, 1952. Liberace learned early on to add “schmaltz” to his television show and to cater to the tastes of the mass audience by joking and chatting to the camera, as if performing in the viewer’s own living room. He also used dramatic lighting, split images, costume changes, and exaggerated hand movements to create visual interest. His television performances also  featured enthusiasm and humor and his musical selections were broad, including classics, show tunes, film melodies, Latin rhythms, ethnic songs, and boogie-woogie.In 1956, Liberace had his first international engagement,  in Havana. which He followed up with a European tour later that year. In 1960, Liberace performed at the London Palladium with Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr at the Royal Variety Show. In 1964 Liberace returned to Las Vegas, and, upping the glamour and glitz, he took on the sobriquet “Mr. Showmanship”.

The costumes became more exotic (ostrich feathers, mink, capes and huge rings), entrances and exits more elaborate (chauffeured onstage in a Rolls-Royce or dropped in on a wire like Peter Pan), choreography more complex (involving chorus girls, cars, and animals), and novelty acts.Liberace’s energy and commercial ambitions took him in many directions. He owned an antiques store in Beverly Hills, California and a restaurant in Las Vegas for many years and even published cookbooks, In addition, he had a line of men’s clothing, a motel chain (Liberace Chateau Inns), a shopping mall, and other enterprises.   Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Liberace’s live shows were major box office attractions in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Hilton and Lake Tahoe. He maintained homes in both places. Always kind to animals and children, Liberace incorporated them into his shows and helped talented youth through his Liberace Foundation, whose works still continue.Liberace’s final stage performance was at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on November 2, 1986. His final television appearance was on Christmas Day that same year.   He died at the age of 67 on February 4, 1987 , from “Cytomegalic Virus having been in ill health since 1985 with emphysema from his daily smoking off-stage, as well as heart and liver troubles. Liberace’s body is entombed in Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Happy Birthday Glen Gregory

English musician and one of the founding members of 80′s band Heaven 17, Glenn Gregory was born on this date 16th May 1958, in Sheffield, England. Best known as a member of Heaven 17, Gregory had also known the founding members of The Human League for many years. He had been singing and playing bass in bands with Ian Craig Marsh since 1973. In early 1981 he was contacted by Martyn Ware after the original membership of The Human League split, and was asked to join Heaven 17. who had many hit records such as “Temptation” and “Crushed by the Wheels of Industry” .In 1984 Gregory sang on the Band Aid single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, singing the line “No rain nor rivers flow”. Outside of Heaven 17, Gregory has been a member of the bands Ugly and Honeyroot, as well as working with Tina Turner, Grace Jones, Propaganda, Terence Trent D’Arby, Ultravox, La Roux and John Lydon