The Colour of Magic

I have recently watched the Television adaptation of the Colour of Magic which is based on the first two Discworld novels, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett. The story follows the exploits of, a cowardly, incompetent and cynical wizard named Rincewind (David Jason)who is finally expelled from Unseen University after spending 40 years failing to learn even the most basic magic .Rincewind is then coerced by the Patrician (Jeremy Irons)to act as a local guide for Twoflower, (Sean Astin) a property insurance salesman and the Discworld’s first tourist, who is visiting Ankh-Morpork, in order to see The Discworld’s many wonders including the Wyrmburg and The Temple of Bel Shamharoth. Twoflower is traveling with his luggage, which is made from sapient pearwood and can run on its own legs. Rincewind and Twoflower are forced to flee Ankh Morpork After a misunderstanding over an insurance policy causes the owner of the Broken Drum inn where Twoflower and Rincewind are staying to commit arson, and parts of Ankh Morpork gradually burn to the ground.

After The pair flee the city Twoflower is captured and taken to the Wyrmburg where he encounters Liessa, Greicha and Lio!rt and many dragons. Rincewind finds Kring, a sentient sword which belongs to Hrun the Barbarian but is also taken to the Wyrmburg where he later fights Lio!rt, one of Greicha’s sons. Luckily the pair manage to escape the Wyrmburg but soon find themselves in even greater peril when they are eventually washed rimwards to the kingdom of Krull, which lies on the very rim of the disc, where they are taken prisoner. For many years The astronomers and “astrozoologists” of Krull including Arch Astronomer (Nigel Planer) have attempted to determine the sex of Great A’Tuin, and are on the verge of launching a space vehicle to carry a pair of “cosmochelonians” on a new mission over the rim of the disc. Unaware of this, Rincewind and Twoflower disguise themselves as two cosmonauts and ‘escape’ to the spacecraft, which they accidentally launch, catapulting them off the rim.

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Rincewind is unaware that his head holds one of the eight spells from the Octavo, the most powerful spellbook in the Discworld and the Octavo spell in Rincewind’s head prevents him from actually dying, resulting in a number of comic encounters with Death. Meanwhile, a significant power struggle is occurring within Unseen University. Where “in the competitive world of wizardry, the way to the top is via dead men’s pointy shoes… even if you have to empty them yourself”. The power-hungry wizard Ymper Trymon (Tim Curry) vies for supremacy with the Unseen University’s other senior staff members in a bid to become Archchancellor. Trymon assassinates several faculty members including Spold but is thwarted by the incumbent Archchancellor, Galder Weatherwax, and his superior magical knowledge of the Octavo. Trymon knows there is no point in deposing the Archchancellor until he learns how to control the Octavo, which is growing increasingly restless as Rincewind (and the spell in his head) moves away from Ankh-Morpork and into greater danger. Back at the Unseen University, the prospect of losing the eighth spell in this fashion prompts the Octavo to act. Watching the Octavo’s action, the Archchancellor reveals his intention to use the Rite of AshkEnte to ask Death about the Octavo and also about a large red star that has recently appeared in the sky. Now knowing all he needs, the villainous Trymon throws Weatherwax from the Tower of Art and becomes Archchancellor in his place.

As The red star grows steadily larger, the worried people of Ankh-Morpork mob the Unseen University because the wizards appear unable to save the disc from it. Trymon learns from Death that all eight spells of the Octavo must be said together at the solstice to save the disc from destruction. Trymon dispatches a group of mercenaries, led by Herrena, to capture Rincewind and retrieve the eighth spell, along with a force of wizards. Meanwhile, Rincewind and Twoflower encounter Cohen the Barbarian (87 years old, retired), and Twoflower rescues Bethan, a human sacrifice in a druid ritual. A battle between the wizards and Rincewind leaves Twoflower in a coma; Rincewind rescues him from Death’s door, and Cohen in turn rescues Rincewind and Twoflower from Herrena and the mercenaries.

They return to Ankh-Morpork, to find the populace panicking and rioting because the star is now larger than the disc’s own sun. Trymon assembles the senior wizards of the University, and orders them to unchain the Octavo. When they release the spellbook, Trymon steals it and imprisons the wizards. However Rincewind releases them and they follow Trymon to the top of the Tower of Art, to try to stop him saying all the spells in order and destroying Discworld. However when the Octavo spells are read aloud in order, this has a rather unexpected effect on the star and several Satellites orbiting the star.

E.M. Forster OM CH

English novelist, essayist and librettist E. M. Forster OM, CH was Born 1st January 1879. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. Forster had a humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy. His 1908 novel, A Room with a View, is his most optimistic work, while A Passage to India (1924) brought him his greatest success. His novel Howards End tells a story of social and familial relations in turn-of-the-century England and is generally considered to be Forster’s masterpiece. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Howards End 38th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

rwav-emfA Room with a View is about a young woman in the repressed culture of Edwardian era England. Set in Italy and England, the story is both a romance and a critique of English society at the beginning of the 20th century. Merchant-Ivory produced an award-winning film adaptation in 1985. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked A Room with a View 79th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.The first part of the novel is set in Florence, Italy, It features a young woman named Lucy Honeychurch who is touring Italy with her overbearing older cousin and chaperone, Charlotte Bartlett. At their hotel, “The Pension Bertolini.”they meet Mr. Emerson and his son, George Emerson, and also meet an Anglican clergyman named Mr. Beebe. The next day, Lucy embarks on a tour of Florence with another guest, Miss Eleanor Lavish, a novelist who shows Lucy the back streets of Florence and subsequently loses her in Santa Croce, where Lucy meets the Emersons again and while in Santa Croce Lucy sees the seedy underbelly of Florence and faints but George Emerson catches her, As a result Lucy takes a bit of a shine to George. Lucy decides to avoid George, partly because she is confused by her feelings and partly to keep her cousin happy. Later at, a party made up of Beebe, Eager, the Emersons, Miss Lavish, Miss Bartlett and Lucy Honeychurch make their way to Fiesole In the fields, Lucy asks her driver where Mr. Beebe is. Misunderstanding, he leads her to a field where George stands. George is overcome by Lucy’s beauty among a field of violets and kisses her, but they are interrupted by Lucy’s outraged cousin. The two women leave for Rome the next day before Lucy is able to say goodbye to George.

The second part starts off in Rome, where Lucy spends time with Cecil Vyse, who proposes to Lucy but is rejected. When Lucy returns to Surrey, England to her family home, Windy Corner. Cecil proposes again , and she accepts. Despite Cecil being a sophisticated and “superior” Londoner who is desirable in terms of rank and class; he is slightly comical figure. The vicar, Mr. Beebe, announces that new tenants have leased a local cottage; the new arrivals turn out to be the Emersons. Lucy’s brother, Freddy, meets George and invites him to go skinny dipping in a nearby pond with himself and Mr Beebe. They are interrupted by Lucy, her mother, and Cecil. Freddy later invites George to play tennis at Windy Corner. Although Lucy is initially mortified, she resolves to be gracious. George catches Lucy alone in the garden and kisses her again. Lucy subsequently breaks off her engagement to Cecil and decides to flee and encounters Mr. Emerson senior who finds out Lucy has been in love with his son George all along.

In some books, an appendix to the book is given entitled “A View without a Room,” written by Forster in 1958 as to what occurred between Lucy and George after the events of the novel. It is Forster’s afterthought of the novel, and he quite clearly states that “I cannot think where George and Lucy live.” They were quite comfortable up until the end of the war, with Charlotte Bartlett leaving them all her money in her will, but World War I ruined their happiness according to Forster. George became a conscientous objector, lost his government job but was given non-combatant duties to avoid prison, leaving Mrs Honeychurch deeply upset with her son-in-law. Mr Emerson died during the course of the war, shortly after having an argument with the police about Lucy continuing to play Beethoven during the war. Eventually they had three children, two girls and a boy, and moved to Carshalton. Despite them wanting to move into Windy Corner after the death of Mrs Honeychurch, Freddy sells the house becoming an unsuccessful but prolific doctor.”After the outbreak of World War II, George immediately enlisted as he saw the need to stop Hitler and the Nazi regime but he unfortunately was not faithful to Lucy during his time at war. Lucy was left homeless after her flat in Watford was bombed and the same happened to her married daughter in Nuneaton. George rose to the rank of corporal but was taken prisoner by the Italians in Africa. Once Italy fell George returned to Florence finding it “in a mess” but he was unable to find the Pension Bertolini, stating “the View was still there and that the room must be there, too, but could not be found.”

Howard’s End concerns three families in England at the beginning of the 20th century: the Wilcoxes, rich capitalists with a fortune made in the Colonies; the half-German Schlegel siblings (Margaret, Tibby, and Helen), who have much in common with the real-life Bloomsbury Group; and the Basts, a struggling couple in the lower-middle class. The Schlegel sisters try to help the poor Basts and try to make the Wilcoxes less prejudiced. The Schlegels frequently encounter the Wilcoxes. The youngest, Helen, is attracted to the younger Wilcox brother, Paul. The eldest, Margaret, becomes friends with Paul’s mother, Ruth Wilcox. Ruth’s most prized personal possession is her family house at Howards End. She wishes that Margaret could live there, as her own husband and children do not value the house and its rich history, So Ruth, who is terminally ill, bequeaths the cottage to Margaret causing great consternation among the Wilcoxes. So Mrs Wilcox’s widowed husband, Henry, and his children decide not to tell Margaret about her inheritance.Not knowing about the inheritance, free-spirited Margaret becomes friends with Henry Wilcox and eventually marries him.

However Henry’s elder son Charles and his wife try to keep Margaret from taking possession of Howards End.On Henry’s advice, Helen tells Leonard Bast to quit his respectable job as a clerk at an insurance company, because the company stands outside a protective group of companies and thus is vulnerable to failure. Bast then loses his tenuous hold on financial solvency. and Helen tries to help young Leonard Bast (perhaps in part out of guilt about having intervened in his life to begin with). Sadly it all goes terribly wrong when it is revealed that Bast’s wife had an affair with Henry in Cyprus ten years previously but he had then carelessly abandoned her.Margaret confronts Henry about his ill-treatment, and he is ashamed of the affair but unrepentant about his harsh treatment of her. In a moment of pity for the poor, doomed Leonard Bast, Helen has an affair with him. Finding herself pregnant, she leaves England to travel through Germany to conceal her condition, but eventually returns to England when she receives news of her Aunt Juley’s illness but refuses to meet with Margaret but is tricked into a meeting at Howards End. Henry and Margaret plan an intervention with a doctor, thinking Helen’s evasive behavior is a sign of mental illness. When they meet Helen at Howards End, they also discover the pregnancy. Margaret tries in vain to convince Henry to forgive Helen. Unaware of Helen’s presence Mr. Bast arrives at Howards End wishing to speak with Margaret, whereupon Henry’s son, Charles, attacks him, and accidentally kills him, Charles is charged with manslaughter and sent to jail for three years.…

apti-emfA Passage to India (1924) is set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. It was selected as one of the 100 great works of English literature by the Modern Library and won the 1924 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Time magazine included the novel in its “100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005″. The novel is based on Forster’s experiences in India. E.M.Forster borrowed the book’s title from Walt Whitman’s poem Leaves of Grass.The story revolves around Dr. Aziz, his British friend Mr. Cyril Fielding, Mrs. Moore, A young British schoolmistress, Adela Quested, and her elderly friend, Mrs. Moore,who visit the fictional city of Chandrapore, British India. Adela is to marry Mrs. Moore’s son, Ronny Heaslop, the city magistrate.Meanwhile, Dr. Aziz, a young Indian Muslim physician sees a strange Englishwoman at his favourite mosque, who turns out to be Mrs Moore, and the two chat and part as friends. Mrs Moore relates her experience at the mosque to Ronny Heaslop, her son. Adela, is intrigued, and attends a party held by Mr. Turton, the city tax collector, where she meets Cyril Fielding, headmaster of Chandrapore’s government-run college for Indians. Later on Fielding invites Adela and Mrs. Moore to a tea party with him and a Hindu-Brahmin professor named Narayan Godbole. On Adela’s request, he also extends his invitation to Dr. Aziz. At Fielding’s tea party, Fielding and Aziz become great friends and Aziz promises to take Mrs. Moore and Adela to see the Marabar Caves, a distant cave complex.

Aziz and the women begin to explore the caves. In the first cave, however, Mrs. Moore is overcome with claustrophobia. Later Aziz sees Adela speaking to another young Englishwoman, Miss Derek, who has arrived with Fielding. Fielding, Mrs. Moore, and Aziz return to Chandrapore on the train. When the train arrives At the train station, Dr. Aziz is arrested and charged with sexually assaulting Adela in a cave. She reports the alleged incident to the British authorities.The run-up to Aziz’s trial for attempted sexual assault releases the racial tensions between the British and the Indians. The only actual evidence the British have is the field glasses in the possession of Dr. Aziz. Despite this, the British colonists firmly believe that Aziz is guilty however Fielding proclaims his belief in Aziz’s innocence and the Indians, who consider the assault allegation a fraud aimed at ruining their community’s reputation, welcome him. Mrs. Moore is unexpectedly apathetic and irritable. Her experience in the cave seems to have ruined her faith in humanity. Although she curtly professes her belief in Aziz’s innocence, she does nothing to help him. Ronny, alarmed by his mother’s assertion that Aziz is innocent, decides to arrange for her return by ship to England before she can testify to this effect at the trial. Mrs. Moore dies during the voyage. Her absence from India becomes a major issue at the trial, where Aziz’s legal defenders assert that her testimony alone, had it been available, would have proven the accused’s innocence. After a while Adela herself becomes confused and starts to question Aziz’s guilt.

New Years Day

New Year’s Day is observed on January 1. It is the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome. With most countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar, New Year’s Day is the closest thing to being the world’s only truly global public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts. January 1 on the Julian calendar currently corresponds to January 14 on the Gregorian calendar, and it is on that date that followers of some of the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the New Year. New Year’s Day is also a postal holiday in the United States.

The Romans dedicated New Year’s Day to the two headed God Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings for whom the first month of the year (January) is also named. After Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 46 BC and was subsequently murdered, the Roman Senate voted to deify him on the 1st January 42 BC in honor of his life and his institution of the new rationalized calendar. The month originally owes its name to the deity Janus, who had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward. This suggests that New Year’s celebrations are founded on pagan traditions. Some have suggested this occurred in 153 BC, when it was stipulated that the two annual consuls (after whose names the years were identified) entered into office on that day, though no consensus exists on the matter. Dates in March, coinciding with the spring equinox, or commemorating the Annunciation of Jesus, along with a variety of Christian feast dates were used throughout the Middle Ages, though calendars often continued to display the months in columns running from January to December.

Among the 7th century pagans of Flanders and the Netherlands, it was the custom to exchange gifts at the New Year. This was a pagan custom deplored by Saint Eligius (died 659 or 660), who warned the Flemings and Dutchmen not to. Most countries in Western Europe officially adopted January 1 as New Year’s Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. In England, the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, was the first day of the new year until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752. The March 25 date was known as Annunciation Style; the January 1 date was known as Circumcision Style, because this was the date of the Feast of the Circumcision, considered to be the eighth day of Christ’s life, counting from December 25 when his birth is celebrated. This day was christened as the beginning of the New Year by Pope Gregory as he designed the Liturgical Calendar. Celebrations Are held world-wide on January 1 as part of New Year’s Day.

 

 

Global Family Day

gfdGlobal Family Day, (One Day of Peace and Sharing) is celebrated every January 1 in the United States and around the world as a global day of peace and sharing. It is a day where individuals and families share food with friends (especially the needy), make personal pledges of nonviolence, and spread a message of peace and sharing by ringing bells or beating a drum in hopes of making society and the world a safer place to live. Global Family Day grew out of the United Nations Millennium celebration, “One Day In Peace.”

Originally supported in the United States by Linda Grover, the original idea itself is difficult to pin down because many grassroots efforts around the world had independently sprung up to target this date as a day for peace and had worked separately to prevail on local governments and the U.N. to establish such a day. These efforts included a 1996 children’s book “One Day In Peace, January 1, 2000″ by Steve Diamond and Robert Alan Silverstein, which was translated into 22 languages. As a result, nearly 140 nations were poised to respond to the November 1997 declaration of the U.N. General Assembly that the first year of the new millennium should launch an “International Decade for the Culture of Peace & Nonviolence for the Children of the World” which would be ushered in by “One Day of Peace.”

Finally, in November 1999, the U.N. issued a formal invitation for world participation. As the independent grassroots organizations around the world joined the effort, one notable outcome was a special ceremony initiated by Gerry Eitner between Israeli and Palestinian families, at a refugee camp in Nablus. Later that year, the United States Congress followed the U.N. initiative and unanimously voted to establish the first day of every year as a special time of peace and sharing. In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly established this Observance as a recurring annual event, also recommending that all Member states recognize the new holiday To date, more than 20 heads of state and many ambassadors have endorsed what has now become known as Global Family Day. Global Family Day has twice received the unanimous support of the U.S. Congres, the UN General Assembly (Resolutions, and more than 30 sitting heads of state and ambassadors representing more than two-thirds of the world’s population.

People of the United States have been urged to observe Global Family Day and One Day of Peace and Sharing by the President who issues an annual proclamation, calling upon the people of the United States to observe Global Family Day, One Day of Peace and Sharing, and for other purposes.In 2005, Dr. Milton A. Reid and Cassandra West, Chairman and President respectively of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Life Institute, were invited to the United Nations for the support of Global Family Day for the International Day of Families. On September 26, 2006, President George W. Bush issued a Presidential Proclamation for Family Day, as special request, of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Life Institute, to the White House, Faith Based Initiatives office. The organization’s mission is to unite, inform, motivate, and connect people, institutions, and governments of the world through the celebration of this day of peace and sharing every January 1 and related year-around programs.

Joe Orton

lootposterEnglish playwright and author Joe Orton, was Born 1 January 1933. His public career was short but prolific, lasting from 1964 until his death in1967. During this brief period he shocked, outraged, and amused audiences with his scandalous black comedies. The adjective Ortonesque is sometimes used to refer to work characterised by a similarly dark yet farcical cynicism. He attended a writing course at Clark’s College in Leicester from 1945 to 1947.He then began working as a junior clerk on £3 a week and became interested in performing in the theatre around 1949 and joined a number of different dramatic societies, including the prestigious Leicester Dramatic Society. While working on amateur productions he was also determined to improve his appearance and physique, buying bodybuilding courses, taking elocution lessons, and trying to redress his lack of education and culture. He applied for a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in November 1950. He was accepted, and left the East Midlands for London. His entrance into RADA was delayed until May 1951 by appendicitis.

Orton met Kenneth Halliwell at RADA in 1951 and moved into a West Hampstead flat with him and two other students. Halliwell was seven years older than Orton and They quickly formed a strong relationship and became lovers.After graduating, both Orton and Halliwell went into regional repertory work: Orton spent four months in Ipswich and Halliwell in Llandudno, Wales. Both returned to London and became writers. They collaborated on a number of unpublished novels but had little success. The rejection of the novel The Last Days of Sodom, in 1957 led them to solo works.

From 1957–1959, Orton and Halliwell worked at Cadbury’s and moved into a small, austere flat at 25 Noel Road inIslington in 1959. Orton and his friends would often amuse themselves with pranks and hoaxes. Orton created the alter ego Edna Welthorpe, an elderly theatre snob, whom he would later revive to stir controversy over his plays. Orton chose the name as an allusion to Terence Rattigan’s “Aunt Edna”, Rattigan’s archetypal playgoer. They also stole books from the local library and modify the cover art or the blurbs before returning them to the library. A volume of poems by John Betjeman, for example, was returned to the library with a new dustjacket featuring a photograph of a nearly naked, heavily tattooed, middle-aged man. The couple decorated their flat with many of the prints. They were eventually discovered and prosecuted for stealing and damaging library books in May 1962 which was reported in Daily Mirror as “Gorilla in the Roses”.

They were sentenced to prison for six months (released September 1962) and fined £262, which they felt was unduly harsh “because we were queers”. However, prison would be a crucial formative experience for Orton; the isolation from Halliwell allowed him to see the corruptness, priggishness, and double standards of a purportedly liberal society in Britain. The book covers that Orton and Halliwell vandalised have subsequently become a valued part of the Islington Local History Centre collection and Some are exhibited in the Islington Museum. Orton began to write plays in the early 1960s. He wrote the Ruffian In 1963 which was broadcast on Radio and substantially rewritten for the stage in 1966, by which time he had completed his next play Entertaining Mr Sloane, Which premiered at the New Arts Theatre on 6 May 1964, And garnered critical praise from playwright Terence Rattigan, who invested £3,000 to ensure its survival and was performed at the Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End and the Queen’s Theatre. It tied for first in the Variety Critics’ Poll for “Best New Play” Orton also came second for “Most Promising Playwright.” And was performed in New York, Spain, Israel and Australia, as well as being made into a film and a television play.

Orton’s next performed work was Loot. Originally entitled Funeral Games, it is a wild parody of detective fiction, adding farce and jabs at established ideas on death, the police, religion, and justice. Despite being heavily rewritten Loot subsequently opened to scathing reviews in Brighton, Oxford, Bournemouth, Manchester, and Wimbledon Discouraged, Orton and Halliwell went on an 80-day holiday in Tangier, Morocco. Loot was revived in 1966 and Orton edited The play raising the tempo and improving the characters’ interactions. Additional cuts further improved Loot and It premiered in London on 27 September 1966, to rave reviews, before moving to the Criterion Theatre before winning several awards and firmly establishing Orton’s fame sadly though Loot flopped on Broadway. Orton next wrote What the Butler Saw, revised The Ruffian on the Stair and The Erpingham Camp for the stage as a double called Crimes of Passion. He also wrote Funeral Games; and the screenplay “Up Against It” for the Beatles, worked on What the Butler Saw and wrote “The Good and Faithful Servant”, which was Orton’s take on The Bacchae, and was broadcast 1966 as the ‘pride’ segment in the series Seven Deadly Sins. Orton rewrote Funeral Games as a segment for the series, The Seven Deadly Virtues, Which dealt with charity—especially Christian charity—in a confusion of adultery and murder, which was broadcast by Yorkshire Television in 1968

Unfortunately During 1967 whilst Orton was working hard, energised and happy; Halliwell was becoming increasingly depressed, argumentative, and plagued with mystery ailments, culminating in 9 August 1967 with Orton’s brutal murder by Halliwell at his home in Noël Road, Islington, London, before Halliwell himself committed suicide with an overdose of 22 Nembutol tablets washed down with Grapefruit Juice. What The Butler Saw subsequently debuted posthumously in the West End in 1969 opening at the the Queen’s Theatre with Sir Ralph Richardson, Coral Browne, Stanley Baxter, and Hayward Morse to rave reviews.