Brain of Morbius

imageI have recently watched this classic gothic era Doctor Who story in which The fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and Sarah Jane Smith (Elizabeth Sladen) land on the desolate planet Karn. Sarah sees a valley filled with wrecked spacecraft and they encounter the headless body of the alien before spotting a mysterious castle where they seek shelter. However they are being observed by a member of the mysterious Sisterhood of Karn. The Sisterhood are led by Maren and are keepers of the Mystical Flame of Life which is unfortunately dying out and Without the Flame, there is no Elixir of Life. The secret of the Elixir is known only to the Sisterhood and the High Council of the Time Lords, with whom they shared the Elixir, however Maren fears that the Timelords have sent The Doctor to steal the remains of the Elixir of life.

At the castle The Doctor and Sarah meet the Scientist named Mehindri Solon(Philip Madoc) Who lives with his assistant Condo. The Doctor knows Solon through his reputation as a pioneering authority on microsurgical techniques and tissue transplants, and that he mysteriously vanished after he was accused of being a member of the Sinister Cult of Morbius, whose members follow a renegade TimeLord named Morbius who committed despicable atrocities and promised an army of Mercenaries immortality, before leading them against the Time Lords, but was eventually caught on Karn and Executed.

At the Castle The Doctor is rendered unconcious and taken to Solon’s Laboratory for sinister experiments. Sarah Meanwhile Makes an alarming discovery and begins to suspect that Solon Is up to no good. However before Solon can do anything the Doctor Mysteriously Vanishes. The Sisterhood of Karn also acquire the TARDIS through telekinesis. When the Doctor regains Conciousness he finds himself at the Temple of The Sisterhood of Karn where they decide to execute him, but the Sisterhood are interrupted by Solon and Condo and the Doctor is rescued by Sarah Jane who is temporarily blinded while escaping from the Shrine of the Sisterhood of Karn.

The Doctor then returns to Solon’s castle seeking a cure for Sarah Jane’s blindness. However Solon informs him that the only cure is The Elixir of Life, so the Doctor unwillingly returns to the Shrine of the Sisterhood of Karn, where Maren is administering the last of the Elixir of Life before the Flame finally dies. Maren still does not trust The Doctor, however he examines the Flame of Life and learns how the Elixir of Life is Formed and decides to help.

Meanwhile back at the castle Sarah Jane unsuccessfully tries to escape and discovers that Solon is making a sinister bid to resurrect the Evil Renegade Time Lord Morbius By transplanting his brain into an artificial body made up of different alien species which he has collected and assembled. Solon then coerces Sarah Jane into assisting him and Shortly after the operation is completed the monstrous body of Morbius gets off the operating table and goes on the rampage…

Rembrandt

The Polish Rider

The Polish Rider

Dutch painter and etcher Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn , was born 15 July 1606. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age when Dutch Golden Age painting, although in many ways antithetical to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, he was extremely prolific and innovative. As a boy he attended Latin school and was enrolled at the University of Leiden, although according to a contemporary he had a greater inclination towards painting and was soon apprenticed to a Leiden history painter, Jacob van Swanenburgh, with whom he spent three years. After a brief but important apprenticeship of six months with the famous painter Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, Rembrandt opened a studio in Leiden in 1624 or 1625, which he shared with friend and colleague Jan Lievens. In 1627, Rembrandt began to accept students, among them Gerrit Dou.

In 1629, Rembrandt was discovered by the statesman Constantijn Huygens, the father of Christiaan Huygens (a famous Dutch mathematician and physicist), who procured for Rembrandt important commissions from the court of The Hague. As a result of this connection, Prince Frederik Hendrik continued to purchase paintings from Rembrandt until 1646. At the end of 1631 Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam, then rapidly expanding as the new business capital of the Netherlands, and began to practice as a professional portraitist for the first time, with great success.Throughout his career the themes of portraiture, landscape and narrative painting were his primary subjects and he produced over 600 paintings, nearly 400 etchings and 2,000 drawings including a number of biblical works, including The Raising of the Cross, Joseph Telling His Dreams and The Stoning of Saint Stephen, he was especially praised by his contemporaries, who extolled him as a masterly interpreter of biblical stories for his skill in representing emotions and attention to detail.During Rembrandt’s Leiden period (1625–1631) his Paintings were rather small, but rich in details (for example, in costumes and jewelry). Religious and allegorical themes were favored. In 1626 Rembrandt produced his first etchings, the wide dissemination of which would largely account for his international fame In 1629 he completed Judas Repentant, Returning the Pieces of Silver and The Artist in His Studio, works that evidence his interest in the handling of light and variety of paint application, and constitute the first major progress in his development as a painter.

During his early years in Amsterdam (1632–1636), Rembrandt began to paint dramatic biblical and mythological scenes in high contrast and of large format (The Blinding of Samson, 1636, Belshazzar’s Feast, c. 1635 Danaë, 1636), seeking to emulate the baroque style of Rubens. With the occasional help of assistants in his workshop, he painted numerous portrait commissions both small (Jacob de Gheyn III) and large (Portrait of the Shipbuilder Jan Rijcksen and his Wife, 1633, Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, By the late 1630s Rembrandt had produced a few paintings and many etchings of landscapes. Often these landscapes highlighted natural drama, featuring uprooted trees and ominous skies (Cottages before a Stormy Sky, and The Three Trees. From 1640 his work became less exuberant and more sober in tone, possibly reflecting personal tragedy. Biblical scenes were now derived more often from the New Testament than the Old Testament, as had been the case before. In 1642 he painted The Night Watch and in the decade following the Night Watch, Rembrandt’s paintings varied greatly in size, subject, and style. The previous tendency to create dramatic effects primarily by strong contrasts of light and shadow gave way to the use of frontal lighting and larger and more saturated areas of color.

However these graphic works of natural drama eventually made way for quiet Dutch rural scenes and by the 1650s, Rembrandt’s style changed again. Colors became richer and brush strokes more pronounced. With these changes, Rembrandt distanced himself from earlier work and current fashion, which increasingly inclined toward fine, detailed works. In later years biblical themes were still depicted often, but emphasis shifted from dramatic group scenes to intimate portrait-like figures (James the Apostle, 1661). In his last years, Rembrandt painted his most deeply reflective self-portraits, and several moving images of both men and women in love, in life, and before God.Although he achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, Rembrandt’s later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships. Yet his etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high, and for twenty years he taught many important Dutch painters. Rembrandt’s greatest creative triumphs are exemplified especially in his portraits of his contemporaries, self-portraits and illustrations of scenes from the Bible. His self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost sincerity. In his paintings and prints he exhibited knowledge of classical iconography, which he molded to fit the requirements of his own experience; thus, the depiction of a biblical scene was informed by Rembrandt’s knowledge of the specific text, his assimilation of classical composition, and his observations of Amsterdam’s Jewish population. Rembrandt sadly passed away on 4th October 1669) but his legacy lives on in the form of many wonderful paintings and because of his empathy for the human condition, he is also sometimes referred to as “one of the great prophets of civilization.”

Clive Cussler

American adventure novelist and marine archaeologist Clive Eric Cussler,  was born July 15, 1931 in Aurora, Illinois. His exciting thriller novels, many featuring the character Dirk Pitt, have reached The New York Times fiction best-seller list more than seventeen times. Cussler is also the founder and chairman of the real-life National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), which has discovered more than sixty shipwreck sites and numerous other notable sunken underwater wreckages. He is the sole author or lead author of more than 50 books.Born in Aurora, Illinois, Cussler grew up in Alhambra, California and was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout when he was 14. He attended Pasadena City College for two years and then enlisted in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. During his service in the Air Force, he was promoted to Sergeant and worked as an aircraft mechanic and flight engineer for the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) After his discharge from the military, Cussler went to work in the advertising industry, first as a copywriter and later as a creative director for two of the nation’s most successful advertising agencies. As part of his duties Cussler produced radio and television commercials, many of which won international awards including an award at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival

Clive Cussler began writing in 1965 when his wife took a job working nights for the local police department where they lived in California. After making dinner for the kids and putting them to bed he had no one to talk to and nothing to do so he decided to start writing. His most famous creation is marine engineer, government agent and adventurer Dirk Pitt. The Dirk Pitt novels frequently take on an alternative history perspective, such as“what if Atlantis was real?” or “what if Abraham Lincoln wasn’t assassinated, but was kidnapped?”The first two Pitt novels, The Mediterranean Caper and Iceberg, were relatively conventional maritime thrillers. The third, Raise the Titanic!, made Cussler’s reputation and established the pattern that subsequent Pitt novels would follow: a blend of high adventure and high technology, generally involving megalomaniacal villains, lost ships, beautiful women, and sunken treasure. Cussler’s novels, like those of Michael Crichton, are examples of techno-thrillers that do not use military plots and settings. Where Crichton strove for scrupulous realism, however, Cussler prefers fantastic spectacles and outlandish plot devices. The Pitt novels, in particular, have the anything-goes quality of the James Bond or Indiana Jones movies, while also sometimes borrowing from Alistair MacLean’s novels. Pitt himself is a larger-than-life hero reminiscent of Doc Savage and other characters from pulp magazines.

Clive Cussler has had more than seventeen consecutive titles reach The New York Times fiction best-seller list.Following the publication in 1996 of Cussler’s first nonfiction work, The Sea Hunters, he was awarded a Doctor of Letters degree in 1997 by the Board of Governors of the State University of New York Maritime College who accepted the work in lieu of a Ph.D. thesis. This was the first time in the college’s 123-year history that such a degree had been awarded.In 2002 Cussler was awarded the Naval Heritage Award from the U S Navy Memorial Foundation for his efforts in the area of marine exploration. Cussler is a fellow of the Explorers Club of New York, the Royal Geographic Society in London, and the American Society of OceanographersAs an underwater explorer, Cussler has discovered more than sixty shipwreck sites and has written non-fiction books about his findings.

Peter Banks (Yes)

imagePeter Banks, British guitarist with Progressive Rock Bands Yes was born 15th July 1947. The band achieved worldwide success with their progressive music, mystical lyrics, elaborate album art, live stage sets and symphonic style of rock music and are regarded as one of the pioneers of the progressive genre. They were Formed in 1968 and released two albums together but began to enjoy success after the release of The Yes Album and Fragile, which featured new arrivals Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. They achieved further success with the albums Close to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans and, Fragile.Formed in 1968 by Squire and singer Jon Anderson, the first line-up also included guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Tony Kaye and drummer Bill Bruford, who released two albums together to lukewarm reception and sales. Yes began to enjoy success after the release of The Yes Album(1971) and Fragile (1971), which featured new arrivals Howe and Rick Wakeman. They achieved further success with Close to the Edge (1972) and Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973), the latter of which featured White on drums.

Wakeman was replaced by Patrick Moraz, who played on Relayer (1974). Wakeman returned on Going for the One (1977) and Tormato (1978). Anderson and Wakeman left the group due to musical differences amongst the band in 1980. Their replacements, Trevor Horn and Downes, featured on Drama (1980) and its supporting tour.Yes reformed in 1982 after Squire and White were joined by the returning Anderson and Kaye, with the addition of guitarist Trevor Rabin. They adopted a pop rock sound and released the number one single “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and 90125 (1983), their best-selling album to date, followed by Big Generator (1987). Anderson left and co-formed the side project Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe with the named members in 1989. Following a legal battle amongst both Yes groups, they formed an eight-man band to perform on Union (1991) and its supporting tour.

Rabin and Kaye featured on Talk (1994) before leaving, while Wakeman and Howe returned with Keys to Ascension (1996) and Keys to Ascension 2(1997). Wakeman was replaced by Igor Khoroshev, who featured on Open Your Eyes (1997) and The Ladder (1999) along with guitarist Billy Sherwood. The release of Magnification (2001) marked the first album since 1970 to feature an orchestra.In 2002, Wakeman returned for the band’s 35th anniversary tour. The band ceased to tour in 2004, partly due to health concerns regarding Anderson and Wakeman. Following a hiatus, Yes re-started in 2008 with keyboardist Oliver Wakeman and singer After of the release of Fly from Here (2011) the band recruited Jon Davison, lead singer of Glass Hammer, a progressive rock band from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to replace David. Yes continue to perform to this day, more than 40 years since their formation.

Ian Curtis (Joy Division)

English musician, singer and songwriter Ian Ian Curtis was. Born 15 July 1956. He is best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the post-punk band Joy Division. Joy Division released their debut album, Unknown Pleasures, in 1979 and recorded their follow-up, Closer, in 1980. Sadly Curtis, who suffered from epilepsy and depression, committed suicide on 18 May 1980, on the eve of Joy Division’s first North American tour, resulting in the band’s dissolution and the subsequent formation of New Order. Curtis was known for his baritone voice, dance style, and songwriting filled with imagery of desolation, emptiness and alienation.In 1995, Curtis’ widow Deborah published Touching from a Distance: Ian Curtis and Joy Division, a biography of the singer. His life and death have been dramatised in the films 24 Hour Party People (2002) and Control In 1976 , Curtis met Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook at a Sex Pistols gig. They were trying to form a band, and Curtis immediately proposed himself as vocalist and lyricist.

The trio then unsuccessfully recruited a number of drummers before selecting Stephen Morris as their final member.Initially the band was called Warsaw, but as their name conflicted with that of another group,Warsaw Pakt, the name was changed to Joy Division. The moniker was derived from a 1955 novel The House of Dolls, which featured a Nazi concentration camp with a sexual slavery wing called the “Joy Division”. After starting Factory Records with Alan Erasmus, Tony Wilson signed the band to his label following the band’s appearance on Wilson’s Something Else television programme, itself prompted by an abusive letter sent to Wilson by Curtis.

Whilst performing for Joy Division, Curtis became known for his quiet and awkward demeanour, as well as a unique dancing style reminiscent of the epileptic seizures he experienced, sometimes even on stage.There were several incidents when he collapsed and had to be helped off stage. In an interview for Northern Lights cassette magazine in November 1979, Ian Curtis made his only public comment on his dancing and performance. He explained the dance as a type of sign language with which to further express a song’s emotional and lyrical content: “Instead of just singing about something you could show it as well, put it over in the way that it is, if you were totally involved in what you were doing”.Curtis’ writing was filled with imagery of emotional isolation, death, alienation, and urban decay. He sang in a baritonevoice, in contrast to his speaking voice, which fell in the tenor range. Earlier in their career, Curtis would sing in a loud snarling voice similar to shouting; it is best displayed on the band’s debut EP, An Ideal for Living (1978). producer Martin Hannett developed Joy Division’s sparse recording style, and some of their most innovative work was created in Strawberry Studios in Stockport (owned by Manchester act 10cc) and Cargo Recording Studios Rochdale in 1979), which was developed from John Peel’s investing money into the music business in Rochdale.

Although predominantly a vocalist, Curtis also played guitar on a handful of tracks (usually when Sumner was playing synthesizer; “Incubation” and a Peel Session version of “Transmission” were rare instances when both played guitar). At first Curtis played Sumner’s Shergold Masquerader, but in September 1979 he acquired his own guitar, a Vox Phantom Special VI which had many built-in effects used both live and in studio.

Ian Curtis sadly committed Suicide on 18th May 1980. After Curtis’ death, Sumner inherited the guitar and used it in several early New Order songs, such as “Everything’s Gone Green”. Curtis also played keyboard on some live versions of “She’s Lost Control”. He also played the melodica on “Decades” and “In a Lonely Place”; the latter was written and rehearsed for the cancelled American tour and later salvaged as a New Order B-side. Curtis’ last live performance was on 2 May 1980, at High Hall of Birmingham University, a show that included Joy Division’s first and only performance of “Ceremony”, later recorded by New Order and released as their first single. The last song Curtis performed on stage was “Digital”. The recording of this performance is on the Still album. Curtis was cremated at Macclesfield Crematorium and his ashes were buried. His memorial stone, inscribed with “Ian Curtis 18 – 5 – 80″ and “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, was stolen in July 2008 from the grounds of Macclesfield Cemetery. The missing memorial stone was later replaced by a new stone.