Posted in books

The Columbus Affair by Steve Berry

imageI am currently reading The Fast Paced Historical Novel The Columbus Affair by Steve Berry. It Concerns A mysterious and ruthless Austrian Jewish billionaire named Zachariah Simon, Jamaican crime lord Béne Rowe , eminent international politicians, and a covert arm of the American government, who are all linked by a single puzzling possibility concerning Christopher Columbus. Five hundred years after his fourth and last voyage to the New World. They are convinced there was more to the voyage and that he knew the secret location of a gold mine in Jamaica.

So they coerce troubled Pulitzer Prize Winning ex-investigative journalist turned Ghostwriter Tom Sagan into helping them, by kidnapping his bitter estranged Daughter Alle Beckett and threatening to kill her if he refuses to help. Tom was highly respected journalist who wrote hard-hitting articles from trouble spots around the world until one of his stories from The Middle East is exposed as a fraud, and he suspects that his downfall was a deliberate act of sabotage by an unknown enemy.

Sagan’s actions soon attract the attention of Brian Jamison, who says he’s an American intelligence officer from the Magellan Billet,a top-secret corps of the United States Justice Department which deals with America’s most sensitive investigations. They also interest Frank Clarke, of the Charles Town Council of Elders; and the 102-year-old Rabbi Berlinger, of Prague’s Old-New Synagogue, who’s convinced that the apostate Tom is the latest Levite. Before long Sagan finds himself caught in an international incident, And is Coaxed into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, Which leads him to Vienna, Prague, then finally into the Blue Mountains of Jamaica where he makes a shocking discovery.

Posted in music

Brian May (Queen)

Brian May, English guitarist with British rock band Queen was born July 19th 1947. Queen were formed in London in 1971, consisting of Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass guitar, guitars), and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals). Queen’s earliest works were influenced by progressive rock, but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works, incorporating more diverse and innovative styles in their music.Before joining Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had been playing together in a band named Smile with bassist Tim Staffell. Freddie Mercury (then known as Farrokh/Freddie Bulsara) was a fan of Smile, and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques

After Staffell’s departure in 1970. Mercury himself joined the band shortly thereafter, changed the name of the band to “Queen”, and adopted his familiar stage name. John Deacon was recruited prior to recording their eponymous debut album (1973). Queen enjoyed success in the UK with their debut and its follow-up, Queen II (1974), but it was the release of Sheer Heart Attack (1974) and A Night at the Opera (1975) that gained the band international success. The latter featured “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which stayed at number one in the UK Singles Chart for nine weeks; it charted at number one in several other territories, and gave the band their first top ten hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. Their 1977 album, News of the World, contained two of rock’s most recognisable anthems, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”.

Queen- live at Wembley Stadium 12-07-1986

By the early 1980s, Queen were one of the biggest stadium rock bands in the world, and their performance at 1985′s Live Aid is regarded as one of the greatest in rock history. In 1991, Mercury died of bronchopneumonia, a complication of AIDS, and Deacon retired in 1997. Since then, May and Taylor have infrequently performed together, including a collaboration with Paul Rodgers under the name Queen + Paul Rodgers which ended in May 2009.The band have released a total of 18 number one albums, 18 number one singles, and 10 number one DVDs. Estimates of their album sales generally range from 150 million to 300 million albums, making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists. They received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1990, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Posted in Art

Edgar Degas

World renowned French artist Edgar Degas was born 19th July 1834 in Paris. He is famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist. A superb draftsman, he is especially identified with the subject of the dance, and over half of his works depict dancers. These display his mastery in the depiction of movement, as do his racecourse subjects and female nudes. His portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and depiction of human isolation.

Early in his career, he wanted to be a history painter, a calling for which he was well prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classic art. In his early thirties, he changed course, and by bringing the traditional methods of a history painter to bear on contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern lifeDegas’s work was controversial, but was generally admired for its draftsmanship. His La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans, or Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, which he displayed at the sixth Impressionist exhibition in 1881, was probably his most controversial piece; some critics decried what they thought its “appalling ugliness” while others saw in it a “blossoming” The suite of pastels depicting nudes that Degas exhibited in the eighth Impressionist Exhibition in 1886 produced “the most concentrated body of critical writing on the artist during his lifetime … The overall reaction was positive and laudatory”

Sadly Degas passed away on the 27th September 1917 and During his life, public reception to his work ranged from admiration to contempt. As a promising artist in the conventional mode, Degas had a number of paintings accepted in the Salon between 1865 and 1870. These works received praise from Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and the critic, Jules-Antoine Castagnary. He soon joined forces with the Impressionists, however, and rejected the rigid rules, judgements, and elitism of the Salon—just as the Salon and general public initially rejected the experimentalism of the Impressionists.Recognized as an important artist in his lifetime, Degas is now considered “one of the founders of Impressionism”. Though his work crossed many stylistic boundaries, his involvement with the other major figures of Impressionism and their exhibitions, his dynamic paintings and sketches of everyday life and activities, and his bold color experiments, served to finally tie him to the Impressionist movement as one of its greatest artists. His paintings, pastels, drawings, and sculptures are on prominent display in many museums and he also greatly influenced several important painters, most notably Jean-Louis Forain, Mary Cassatt, and Walter Sickert and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec