The Charlatans – Modern Nature

imageI have been listening to The Charlatans 12th studio album Modern Nature which was released January 26 2015. It contains 11-songs and was released in a variety of formats, including a coloured vinyl release that includes four bonus tracks.

It contains: airy, melodic, Hammond organ-heavy, sizably funky, upbeat songs, like So Oh and ‘Let The Good Times Be Never Ending’, which is dedicated to ex-drummer Jon Brookes, who tragically died in 2013, as well as The pop groove of ‘Wonderland’ and the contemplative (‘Keep Enough’, ‘Emilie’). It also pays tribute to their ‘60s and ‘70s roots with soul strings, bongos and Latino acoustics. ‘Come Home Baby’ is glorious and ‘Lean On’ reminds me of the 1992 single ‘Weirdo’, while The songs ‘Talking Tones’ and ‘Trouble Understanding’ contain modern beats.

Talking in Tones
So Oh
Come Home Baby
keep Enough
In the Tall Grass
Emilie
Let the Good Times be Never Ending
I Need You to Know
Lean In
Trouble Understanding
Lot To Say

National Bird Feeding Month

House_SparrowFebruary has been designated National Bird-Feeding Month. This celebratory month was created to educate the public on the wild bird feeding and watching hobby. Because of National Bird-Feeding Month, February has become the month most recognized with wild bird feeding promotions and activities. The month is an ideal time for promoting and enjoying the bird feeding hobby, which is home-based and nature-oriented. February was proclaimed National Bird-Feeding Month in, 1994 after John Porter (R-Il) entered the following resolution into the Congressional Record

“February is one of the most difficult months in the United States for wild birds (it’s difficult for wild birds everywhere), During this month, individuals are encouraged to provide food, water, and shelter to help wild birds survive. This assistance benefits the environment by supplementing wild bird’s natural diet of weed seeds and insects. Currently, one third of the U.S. adult population feeds wild birds in their backyards. In addition, backyard bird feeding is an entertaining, educational, and inexpensive pastime enjoyed by children and adults. Bird feeding provides a needed break from today’s frantic lifestyles. Adults enjoy the relaxation and peacefulness afforded by watching birds — nature serves to relieve the stress and can get one’s day going on a tranquil note.

Young children are naturally drawn to the activities involved in feeding wild birds, which can serve as excellent educational tools. A Field Guide can also help them identify different species of birds and teach them about the birds’ feeding and living habits. These observations can then provide excellent research opportunities for school projects and reports. Feeding wild birds in the backyard is an easy hobby to start and need not overtax the family budget. It can be as simple as mounting a single feeder outside a window and filling it with bird seed mix. For many people, the hobby progresses from there. They discover the relationship between the type and location of feeders, and the seeds offered in them, and the number and varieties of birds attracted. Parents can challenge an inquisitive child’s mind as they explore together these factors in trying to encourage visits by their favourite birds.”

LGBT History Month

February 1st also marks the start LGBT History Month, which is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. It is observed during October in the United States, to include National Coming Out Day on October 11. In the United Kingdom, it is observed during February, to coincide with a major celebration of the 2005 abolition of Section 28, which had the effect of prohibiting schools from discussing LGBT issues or counselling LGBT or questioning youth.

LGBT History Month originated in the United States and was first celebrated in 1994. It was founded by Missouri high-school history teacher Rodney Wilson. Among early supporters and members of the first coordinating committee were Kevin Jennings of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); Kevin Boyer of Gerber/Hart Gay and Lesbian Library and Archives in Chicago; Paul Varnell, writer for the Windy City Times; Torey Wilson, Chicago area teacher; Johnda Boyce, women’s studies major at Columbus State University and Jessea Greenman of UC-Berkeley. Many gay and lesbian organizations supported the concept early on. In 1995, the National Education Association indicated support of LGBT History Month as well as other history months by resolution at its General Assembly.October was chosen by Wilson as the month for the celebration because National Coming Out Day already was established as a widely known event, on October 11, and October commemorated the first March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation by LGBT people in 1979. LGBT History Month is intended to encourage honesty and openness about being LGBT.While it was first known as Lesbian and Gay History Month, the coordinating committee soon added “bisexual” to the title. It has subsequently become known as LGBT History Month. The event has received criticism from, for example, the Concerned Women for America and others who believe it to be a form of indoctrination.

On June 2, 2000, President Bill Clinton declared June 2000 “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month”. President Barack Obama declared June 2009 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Pride Month 2009 on June 1, 2009. Equality Forum, a national and international LGBT civil rights organization with an educational focus, undertook responsibility for LGBT Month in 2006. Each day in October, an Icon is featured with a video, biography, bibliography, downloadable images and other educational resources at http://www.lgbthistorymonth.com. In 2011, Equality Forum introduced an internal search engine for all Icons from inception in 2006 to present. By clicking on “Icon Search” and choosing one of hundreds of categories such as African-American, Athlete, California, Germany, HIV/AIDS, Military, Religion, Transgender, Youth; visitors to the site will be provided with links to all Icons in that category. In 2012, for the first time, two American school districts celebrated LGBT History Month; the Broward County school district in Florida signed a resolution in September in support of LGBT Americans, and later that year the Los Angeles school district, America’s second-largest, also signed on.

LGBT History Month was instigated in the UK by Sue Sanders and Schools Out and first took place in February 2005. The event came in the wake of the abolition of Section 28 and is intended to raise awareness of, and combat prejudice against, an otherwise substantially invisible minority.The first celebration of the month in 2005 saw the organization of over 150 events around the UK. The organization’s website received over 50,000 hits in February 2005. The organization received a new logo designed by LGBT typographer Tony Malone in 2006, he has also ‘modified’ the logo for 2007. In 2007, Tony Malone’s first concept became the corporate logo for the national committee and each year started to receive its own mark.

The initiative received government backing from the deputy DfES and Equalities Minister Jacqui Smith, although some sections of the press argued against its political correctness, and pointed out that the sexuality of some historical figures is more a matter of speculation than fact. Supporters of the event countered that it is important to challenge heterosexist attitudes in society. LGBT History Month is intended to be an annual event in the United Kingdom taking place every February to coincide with a slower month in the schools calendar.The DfES promised funding for LGBT History Month for the first two years to help get the event off the ground. It is now quite well established and has garnered support from other sources. Long standing sponsors include the Metropolitan Police Service, the Metropolitan Police Authority, Amnesty International and the Crown Prosecution Service.The original patrons of the Month were Cyril Nri, Sarah Weir and Ian McKellen, to be replaced in 2009 by Cyril Nri, Angela Eagle, Labi Siffre and Ian McKellen.

In 2004, the first ever pre-launch event was sponsored by Southwark Council and took place at Tate Modern, the following year, the pre-launch was at the Metropolitan Police’s Empress State Building. In 2006, the TUC offered Congress House and in 2007, the event took place in the hall at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. Through the years many speakers have spoken at the events. These include Ian McKellen, Stella Duffy, Allan Horsfall, Linda Bellos, Baroness Scotland and Barbara Follett.On 5th March 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown hosted a reception at Downing Street to mark the Month and in Scotland LGBT History Month was celebrated as an LGBT community event, receiving support from LGBT community history projects such as Our Story Scotland and Remember When.For 2007 and 2008, the Scottish Executive also provided funding for a post at LGBT Youth Scotland to bring LGBT History Month into the wider community, including schools and youth groups

Black History Month

February 1st marks the start of Black History Month, which is also known as African-American History Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February and the United Kingdom in October.

Black History Month had its beginnings in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week”. This week was chosen because it marked the birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.Woodson created the holiday with the hope that it eventually be eliminated when black history became fundamental to American history.[4] Negro History Week was met with enthusiastic response; it prompted the creation of black history clubs, an increase in interest among teachers, and interest from progressive whites. Negro History Week grew in popularity throughout the following decades, with mayors across the United States endorsing it as a holiday.

In 1976, the federal government acknowledged the expansion of Black History Week to Black History Month by the leaders of the Black United Students at Kent State University in February of 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month occurred at Kent State in February of 1970. Six years later during the bicentennial, the expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month was recognized by the U.S. government. Gerald Ford spoke in regards to this, urging Americans to

“seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Black History Month was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in 1987. This establishment of Black History Month is generally attributed to the work of Ghanaian analyst Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, as well as the Greater London Council. In 1995, after a motion by politician Jean Augustine, Canada’s House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month. In 2008, Senator Donald Oliver moved to have the Senate officially recognize Black History Month, which was unanimously approved.

And now for something completely different….

imageBritish comedian, screenwriter, actor, film director and author Terry Jones was born 1 February 1942 in the seaside town of Colwyn Bay, on the north coast of Wales. The family home was named Bodchwil. His father was stationed with the RAF in India. When Jones was 4½, the family moved to Surrey in England.Jones was educated at the Royal Grammar SchoolGuildford, where he was head boy in the 1960-61 academic year. He read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, but “strayed into history”.He graduated with a 2:1.While there, he performed comedy with future Monty Python castmate Michael Palin in The Oxford Revue.

Jones appeared in Twice a Fortnight with Michael Palin, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Jonathan Lynn, as well as the television series The Complete and Utter History of Britain. He appeared in Do Not Adjust Your Set with Palin, Eric Idle andDavid Jason. He wrote for The Frost Report and several other David Frost programmes on British television. Along with Palin, he wrote lyrics for the 1968 Barry Booth album “Diversions”. Early on, Jones was interested in devising a fresh format for the Python TV shows, and it was largely he who developed the stream-of-consciousness style which abandoned punchlines and encouraged the fluid movement of one sketch into another, allowing the troupe’s conceptual humour the space to “breathe”. Jones took a keen interest in the direction of the show. As demonstrated in many of his sketches with Palin, Jones was interested in making comedy that was visually impressive, feeling that interesting settings augmented, rather than detracted from, the humour. His methods encouraged many future television comedians to break away from conventional studio-bound shooting styles, as demonstrated by shows such as Green Wing, Little Britain and The League of Gentlemen. Of Jones’ contributions as a performer, his depictions of middle-aged women are among the most memorable and his humour, in collaboration with Palin, tends to be conceptual in nature. A typical Palin/Jones sketch draws its humour from the absurdity of the scenario. For example, in the “Summarise Proust Competition”, Jones plays a cheesy game show host who gives contestants 15 seconds to condense Marcel Proust’s lengthy work À la recherche du temps perdu. Jones was also noted for his gifts as aChaplinesque physical comedian. His performance in the “Undressing in Public” sketch, for instance, is done in total silence.

Jones co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Terry Gilliam, and was sole director on two further Monty Python movies, Life of Brian and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. As a film director, Jones finally gained fuller control of the projects and devised a visual style that complemented the humour. His later films include Erik the Viking (1989) and The Wind in the Willows (1996). In 2008, Jones wrote and directed an opera titled Evil Machines. in 2011, he was commissioned to direct and write the libretto for another opera, entitled The Doctor’s Tale. On the commentary track of the 2004 “2 Disc Special Edition” DVD for the film Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Terry Jones stated that to his knowledge Ireland had banned only four movies, three of which he had directed: The Meaning of Life, Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Personal Services. He was the creator and co-producer of the animated television program Blazing Dragons, which ran for two seasons. set in a fantasy medieval setting, the series’ protagonists are dragons who are beset by evil humans, reversing a common story convention. When the series was broadcast on US television, several episodes were censored due to minor cursing and the implied sexuality of an overtly effeminate character named “Sir Blaze”. itwas turned into a game for the Sega Saturn in 1994, which starred Jones’s voice. He co-wrote Ripping Yarns with Palin, and wrote the screenplay for Labyrinth (1986), although his draft went through several rewrites and several other writers before being filmed; much of the finished film wasn’t written by Jones at all. He has also written numerous works for children, including Fantastic Stories, The Beast with a Thousand Teeth, and a collection of Comic Verse called The Curse of the Vampire’s Socks.

He has written books and presented many award nominated television documentaries on medieval and ancient history and the history of numeral systems. such ad Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives (2004) (for which he received a 2004Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming”) and Terry Jones’ Barbarians (2006) which presents the cultural achievements of peoples conquered by theRoman Empire in a more positive light than Roman historians typically have, while criticising the Romans as the true “barbarians” who exploited and destroyed higher civilisations. He has written numerous editorials for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and The Observer condemning the Iraq war. Many of these editorials were published in a paperback collection titled Terry Jones’s War on the War on Terror. Chaucer’s Knight: The Portrait of a Medieval Mercenary (1980) offers an alternative take on the historical view of Geoffrey Chaucer’sThe Knight’s Tale as being a paragon of Christian virtue. His most recent book, Evil Machines, was launched by the online publishing house Unbound at the Adam Street Club in London on 4 November 2011. Evil Machines is the first book to be published by a crowd funding website dedicated solely to books. Jones provided significant support to Unbound and also a member of the UK Poetry Society, his poems have also appeared in Poetry Review.

Jones has performed with The Carnival Band and appears on their 2007 CD Ringing the changes. In January 2008, the Teatro São Luiz, in Lisbon, Portugal, premiered Evil Machines – a musical play, written by Jones (based on his book) and with original music by Luis Tinoco. Jones was invited by the Teatro São Luiz to write and direct the play, after a very successful run of Contos Fantásticos, a short play based on Jones’ Fantastic Stories, also with music by Luis Tinoco. In January 2012, it was announced that Jones is working with songwriter/producer Jim Steinman on a heavy metal version of “The Nutcracker.” Apart from a cameo in Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky and a memorable minor role as a drunken vicar in BBC sitcom The Young Ones, Jones has rarely appeared in work outside of his own projects. Since January 2009, however, he has provided narration for The Legend of Dick and Dom, a CBBC fantasy series set in the Middle Ages. He also appears in two French films by Albert Dupontel : Le Créateur (1999) and Enfermés dehors (2006). In 2009 Jones took part in the BBC Wales programme Coming Home about his Welsh family history.