Posted in books

Kiss me First by Lottie Moggach /12 Years a Slave by Solmon Northup

Being an avid book reader I was interested to learn that This week the Telegraph newspaper in association with WHSmith are giving readers the opportunity to obtain the newly released paperback version of the novel Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach, between Thursday 16 Jan and Wednesday 22 January. Kiss Me First was the Gone Girl of 2013, the plot twisting and turning through the internet and reality.  The story concerns a character named Leila who despite never having met another her character named Tess, knows more about her than anyone in the world. She’s read all of her emails, researched her past and asked Tess for every detail about her friends and family. Tess has never met Leila. But if she wants to slip away from the world unnoticed, she needs to trust Leila with her life. At first, Leila finds it easy to assume Tess’s identity, and no one has any reason to distrust her. But as Leila is soon to discover, there is much more to a person than the facts and there are things about life you can learn only by living it . . The novel has been described as Original, haunting and utterly gripping, Kiss Me First is an electrifying debut from a phenomenally gifted storyteller.

in addition Telegraph Readers can also claim a copy of 12 Years a Slave by Solmon Northup which is being offered with the Telegraph newspaper in association with Penguin and Entertainment One UK on Saturday 18 January To coincide with the release of the award-winning film, 12 Years a Slave. The novel  is the harrowing account of Solomon Northup who starts off a free man, living in New York until he is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Drugged, beaten, given a new name and transported away from his wife and children to a Louisiana cotton plantation, Solomon is threatened with death if he reveals his true identity. This is the searing true story of his twelve years as a slave: the endless brutality, daily humiliations and constant fear, but also the small ways in which he and his fellow men try to survive.

12 Years a Slave is a unique, unflinching record of slavery from the inside, and the incredible account of one man whose life was ripped from him – and who fought to get it back. The critically acclaimed film, in cinemas now, stars Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor and is the winner of a Golden Globe for best motion picture And has also received a few Oscar Nominations

Posted in Events, films & DVD

2014 Academy of Motion Pictures Awards (Oscars)


  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • Philomena
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Nebraska
  • American Hustle
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Her


  • David O Russell – American Hustle
  • Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
  • Alexander Payne – Nebraska
  • Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
  • Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street


  • Christian Bale – American Hustle
  • Bruce Dern – Nebraska
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
  • Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club


  • Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
  • Amy Adams – American Hustle
  • Sandra Bullock – Gravity
  • Judi Dench – Philomena
  • Meryl Streep – August Osage County


  • Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
  • Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
  • Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
  • Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club


  • Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
  • Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
  • Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
  • Julia Roberts – August Osage County
  • June Squibb – Nebraska


  • Despicable Me 2
  • Frozen
  • The Croods
  • Ernest & Celestine
  • The Wind Rises


  • Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight
  • Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
  • Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope – Philomena
  • John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
  • Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street


  • Eric Warren Singer and David O Russell – American Hustle
  • Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
  • Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack – Dallas Buyers Club
  • Spike Jonze – Her
  • Bob Nelson – Nebraska


  • The Great Beauty (Italy)
  • The Hunt (Denmark)
  • The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
  • The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
  • Omar (Palestine)


  • Let It Go – Frozen
  • Ordinary Love – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
  • Alone Yet Not Alone – Alone Yet Not Alone
  • Happy – Despicable Me 2
  • The Moon Song – Her


  • The Book Thief
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Philomena
  • Saving Mr Banks


  • The Act of Killing
  • Cutie and the Boxer
  • Dirty Wars
  • The Square
  • 20 Feet from Stardom


  • SaveDigger
  • Facing Fear
  • Karama Has No Walls
  • The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
  • Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall


  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • 12 Years a Slave


  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
  • The Lone Ranger


  • Feral
  • Get a Horse!
  • Mr Hublot
  • Possessions
  • Room on the Broom


  • Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
  • Avant Que De Tour Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
  • Helium
  • Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
  • The Voorman Problem


  • American Hustle
  • Gravity
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Her
  • 12 Years a Slave


  • All Is Lost
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Lone Survivor


  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Lone Survivor


  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Iron Man 3
  • The Lone Ranger
  • Star Trek Into Darkness


  • American Hustle
  • The Grandmaster
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Invisible Woman
  • 12 Years a Slave


  • The Grandmaster
  • gravity
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Nebraska
  • Prisoners
Posted in cars, films & DVD, sport

Aston Martin

aston-martin-db4ZogatoBritish luxury sports car maker Aston Martin became an officially incorporated company on January 15 1913 when Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford founded Bamford & Martin Ltd. The company was renamed Aston Martin in recognition of Bamford’s success (in the very first Bamford & Martin cars) at the Aston Clinton Hillclimb near Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire.c The two had joined forces as Bamford & Martin the previous year and started out selling cars made by Singer from premises in Callow Street and also servicing GWK and Calthorpe vehicles.The first car to be named Aston Martin was created by Martin by fitting a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine to the chassis of a 1908 Isotta-Fraschini and produced their first car in March 1915. However Production was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I, and Martin joined the Admiralty and Bamford the Royal Army Service Corps. All machinery was sold to the Sopwith Aviation Company. After the war, the company was refounded at Abingdon Road, Kensington and a new car designed to carry the Aston-Martin name. Bamford left in 1920. In 1922, Bamford & Martin produced cars to compete in the French Grand Prix, which went on to set world speed and endurance records at Brooklands. Three works Team Cars with 16-valve twin cam engines were built for racing and record breaking. The company went bankrupt in 1924 and was bought by Lady Charnwood, who put her son John Benson on the board. The company failed again in 1925 and the factory closed in 1926, with Lionel Martin leaving.Later that year, Bill Renwick, Augustus (Bert) Bertelli and investors which included Lady Charnwood took control of the company. They renamed it Aston Martin Motors and moved it to the former Whitehead Aircraft Limited works in Feltham. Between 1926 and 1937 Bertelli was both technical director and designer of all new Aston Martins, since known as “Bertelli cars”. They included the 1½-litre “T-type”, “International”, “Le Mans”, “MKII” and its racing derivative, the “Ulster”, and the 2-litre 15/98 and its racing derivative, the “Speed Model”. Most were open two-seater sports cars bodied by Bert Bertelli’s brother Enrico (Harry), with a small number of long-chassis four-seater tourers, dropheads and saloons also produced.

In 1947, David Brown Limited bought the company under the leadership of managing director Sir David Brown—its “post-war saviour”. The company also acquired Lagonda that year for its 2.6-litre W. O. Bentley-designed engine. Both companies shared resources and workshops, birthing the classic “DB” series of cars. In 1950, the company announced the DB2, followed by the DB2/4 in 1953, the DB2/4 MkII in 1955, the DB Mark III in 1957 and the Italian-styled 3.7 L DB4 in 1958.While these models help Aston Martin establish a good racing pedigree, the DB4 stood out and yielded the famous DB5 in 1963. The company stayed true to its emerging “grand touring” style with the DB6 (1965–70), and DBS (1967–1972).The six-cylinder engines of these cars from 1954 up to 1965 were designed by Tadek Marek.

aston-martin-V8Sadly The Aston Martin company was often financially troubled and In 1972, Aston Martin was sold to Company Developments, a Birmingham-based consortium chaired by William Willson, MBE and was resold in 1975 by its receiver following a further bankruptcy to North American businessmen Peter Sprague and George Minden for £1.05 million.A successful turn-around strategy led to the recruitment of 360 new employees and, by 1977, a trading profit of £750,000. The new owners pushed the company into modernising its line, producing the V8 Vantage in 1977, the convertible Volante in 1978, and the one-off William Towns-styled Bulldog in 1980. Towns also styled the futuristic new Lagonda saloon, based on the V8 model. In 1980 Aston-Martin sought to buy MG, planning to design a new model and offering their take on an updated 1981 model MGB. The acquisition never developed, as the company was badly hit by the economic contraction of the early 1980s. Worldwide sales shrank to three cars per week, prompting chairman Alan Curtis, Sprague, and Minden to consider shutting down production to concentrate on service and restoration. At this point Curtis attended the 1980 Pace sponsored Stirling Moss benefit day at Brands Hatch, and met fellow Farnham resident Victor Gauntlett, who bought a stake in Aston Martin and became as joint 50/50 owners at the beginning of 1981, with Gauntlett as executive chairman. Gauntlett also led the sales team. after some development and publicity when agondabecame the world’s fastest 4-seater production car, was able to sell the Aston Martin Lagonda in Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar.In 1982 Aston Martin was granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment by the Prince of Wales. Understanding that it would take some time to develop new Aston Martin products, they created an engineering service subsidiary Tickford to develop automotive products for other companies included a Tickford Austin Metro, a Tickford Ford Capri. Pace continued sponsoring racing events, and now sponsored all Aston Martin Owners Club events, taking a Tickford-engined Nimrod Group C car up to third in the Manufacturers Championship in both 1982 and 1983 and also finishing seventh in the 1982 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

Aston-Martin-VantageGauntlett bought a stake in Italian styling house Zagato, and resurrected its collaboration with Aston Martin and In 1986 he also negotiated the return of fictional British secret agent James Bond to Aston Martin. Cubby Broccoli had chosen to recast the character using actor Timothy Dalton, in an attempt to re-root the Bond-brand back to a more Sean Connery-like feel in The Living Daylights.Ford took a share holding in September 1987 & In 1988, having produced some 5,000 cars in 20 years, a revived economy and successful sales of limited edition Vantage, and 52 Volante Zagato coupes at £86,000 each; the company finally retired the ancient V8 and introduced the Virage range—the first new Aston launched in 20 years. Gauntlett’s racing interests took Aston back into sports car racing in 1989 with limited European success. the new Aston Martin Volante model was launched in 1990, and Ford took full control of Aston Martin. In 1992, the Vantage version was announced, and the following year the company renewed the DB range by announcing the DB7 range, which was boosted by the addition of V12 Vantage models in 1999 In 1994, Ford opened a new factory at Banbury Road in Bloxham.In 2001 the company introduced the V12-engined Aston Martin Vanquish At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan in 2003, Aston Martin also introduced the AMV8 Vantage concept car. Expected to have few changes before its introduction in 2005, the Vantage brought back the classic V8 engine to allow the company to compete in a larger market. Also introduced in 2003 was the DB9 coupé, which replaced the ten-year-old DB7, A convertible version of the DB9, the DB9 Volante, was introduced at the 2004 Detroit Auto Show.In December 2003 Aston Martin announced it would return to motor racing in 2005. A new division was created, called Aston Martin Racing, which became responsible, together with Prodrive, for the design, development, and management of the DBR9 program. The DBR9 competes in the GT class in sports car races, including the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 2007, a consortium led by Prodrive chairman David Richards purchased Aston Martin, although Prodrive had no financial involvement in the deal Ford also kept a stake in the company.To demonstrate the V8 Vantage’s durability across hazardous terrain and promote the car in China, the first east-west crossing of the Asian Highway was undertaken between June and August 2007. A pair of Britons drove 12,089 km (7,512 miles) from Tokyo to Istanbul before joining the European motorway network for another 3,259 km (2,025 miles) to London. The promotion was so successful the company opened dealerships in Shanghai and Beijing. In 2007, the Newport Pagnell plant rolled out the last of nearly 13,000 cars made there since 1955, and The Tickford Street facility was converted to Aston Martin’s service and restoration department.In 2008, Aston Martin announced the revival of the Lagonda marque, and four-door Aston Martin Rapide began production in 2012, and The company’s current line-up includes the Vantage, DB9, Rapide and Vanquish.