A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

I would like to read A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. It Is the gripping, often deliriously funny yet emotionally devastating and poignant follow up to the novel Life After Life. It relates the life of a chap named Teddy – would-be poet, heroic World War II bomber pilot, husband, father, and grandfather, who is the younger Brother of Ursula, the protagonist featured in Life After Life.

The novel follows Teddy’s progress as he navigates the perils of a rapidly changing 20th Century world and Charts his life from his golden between-the-wars childhood, to his heroic service as a Royal Air Force bomber pilot during World War II. His experience, as a young father, when he wins a Goldfish for his daughter at an agricultural fair. Right up to his eventual life as a nonogenarian in an assisted-living residence, where, with most of his possessions offloaded on charity shops, he describes himself, rather poignantly, as a goldfish in captivity.

Australia Day

image.pngAustralia Day is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and raising of the Flag of Great Britain at that site by Governor Arthur Phillip. In present-day Australia, celebrations reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation, and are marked by community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards, and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new immigrants into the Australian community.

The meaning and significance of Australia Day has evolved over time. Unofficially, or historically, the date has also been variously named “Anniversary Day”, “Invasion Day”, “Foundation Day”, and “ANA Day”. 26 January 1788 marked the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia (then known as New Holland). Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on 26 January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. On New Years Day 1901, the British colonies of Australia formed a Federation, marking the birth of modern Australia. A national day of unity and celebration was looked for. It was not until 1935 that all Australian states and territories had adopted use of the term “Australia Day” to mark the date, and not until 1994 that the date was consistently marked by a public holiday on that day by all states and territories.

In contemporary Australia, the holiday is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, announcement of the Australia Day Honours list and addresses from the Governor-General and Prime Minister. It is an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia, unless it falls on a weekend in which case the following Monday becomes a public holiday instead. With community festivals, concerts and citizenship ceremonies, the day is celebrated in large and small communities and cities around the nation. Australia Day has become the biggest annual civic event in Australia.

However there is another side to the event, and that is the plight of the Indiginous people who suffered appalling treatment by whites. This has often been ignored and swept out of Australia’s history. For instance Between 1905 until the 1970s, tens of thousands of children of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander descent were forcibly removed from their families by the government and church missions in a bid to assimilate them into white society. They are known as the ‘Stolen Children’, and the policy is considered one of the worst atrocities of Australian history. There have also been moves to redesign the flag to reflect the Indiginous culture and Uluru has gone back to being called Uluru.

 

Eddie Van Halen

Best known as the lead guitarist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen, Guitarist.keyboardist, songwriter and producer, Eddie Van Halen was born 26th January, in 1955. He is commonly known for his innovative performing and recording styles in blues-based rock, tapping, intense solos and high frequency feedback; he is also known for energetic and acrobatic stage performances. he has been described as “Second to only Jimi Hendrix…undoubtedly one of the most influential, original, and talented rock guitarists of the 20th century.”. He is ranked 8th in Rolling Stone’s 2011 list of the Top 100 guitarists and has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Van Halen learned to play the piano as a child. His older brother Alex also played the piano. However, playing the piano did not prove to be challenging or interesting enough. Consequently, while Alex began playing the guitar, Eddie bought a drum kit and began practicing, and would practice for hours day after day. HoweverAfter Eddie heard Alex’s performance of the The Surfaris’ drum solo in the song “Wipe Out”, he decided to switch and begin learning how to play the electric guitar instead. He was influenced by supergroup Cream, holding their improvisation in high regard, considering ‘I’m so Glad’ on ‘Goodbye Cream’ to be mind-blowing. He also claimed that he had learned almost all of Eric Clapton’s solos in the band Cream “note for note”. Eddie has stated: “I’ve always said Eric Clapton was my main influence.

Van Halen, were originally called “Genesis” with bass player Mark Stone, but changed their name to “Mammoth” when they discovered there was already a band with the name “Genesis”. The band consisted of Eddie Van Halen on guitar and vocals, his brother, Alex on drums, and bassist Mark Stone. They had no P.A. system of their own, so they rented one from David Lee Roth. Eddie decided to let Roth join the band. Michael Anthony replaced Mark Stone on bass. They changed the name of the band because David Lee Roth suggested that the last name of the two brothers “sounded cool.” The band originally began playing cover material, ranging from pop to disco, before settling on original material .

Van Halen released a total of six albums with David Lee Roth on Vocals, However the band had trouble working together as a cohesive unit and in 1982 Eddie Van Halen approached Simmons about possibly joining Kiss and replacing Ace Frehley. However Simmons & Alex persuaded Eddie to remain with Van Halen, and shortly afterwards the band released the album 1984; which yielded the band’s first Number 1 hit, “Jump“. Other singles released from the album also sold well, particularly “Hot for Teacher”. The album peaked at Number 2 on the Billboard charts.

Roth left the band and was replaced by former Montrose singer Sammy Hagar in July 1985, the band’s sound changed somewhat to adapt to the strengths of the new vocalist, as Eddie’s keyboard playing became a permanent fixture, heard in songs such as “Dreams” “Why Can’t this be Love“and “Love Walks In”. Even on the more rocking, guitar-driven songs, Eddie’s performances became looser, less aggressive, and some said more thoughtful, while others said more commercial. However, tensions within the band again arose over identity and artist direction, and Hagar, like Roth earlier, departed in June 1996. Hagar left behind him a portfolio of 4 studio albums with the band (5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and Balance) as well as one live album (Live: Right Here, Right Now).

Following Hagar’s departure, the group briefly reunited with original singer David Lee Roth and released Best of Volume I, a greatest hits package, in October 1996. Two new songs were recorded for the album, with the single “Me Wise Magic” reaching #1 on the mainstream rock chart (“Can’t Get This Stuff No More” was the other new single). However, previous disagreements resurfaced and the reunion did not last, as Roth left in September 1996, after the MTV Video Music Awards. The band auditioned many prospective replacements for Hagar, finally settling on Gary Cherone, former front man for Extreme, a band also represented by Van Halen’s manager. Cherone predicted that the new line-up would last ‘ten years’. The band also completed a world tour touting their new single “Without You” and did go back in the studio to start on a second record. However, Cherone left and without a lead singer, Van Halen went on hiatus. In 2004, Van Halen returned with Hagar as their lead singer. A greatest hits package, The Best of Both Worlds, was released to coincide with the band’s reunion tour. The album included three new tracks recorded with Hagar (“Up For Breakfast”, “It’s About Time”, & “Learning to See”).

a proposed 2007 summer tour with David Lee Roth was indefinitely postponed as was apreviously planned compilation of Roth era Van Halen hits. However, after six months and a stint in rehabilitation for Eddie, it was finally confirmed that the band would do a tour with the new lineup from late 2007-mid 2008 across North America, with further worldwide touring. Van Halen’s Latest album “Different kind of Truth” was released February 2012, containing the tracks Tattoo She’s The Woman, You and Your Blues, China Town, Blood and Fire, Bullethead, As Is, Honeybabysweetiedoll, The Trouble With Never, Outta Space, Stay Frosty, Big River and Beats Workin’.