Steam on the Road

The Severn Valley Railway recently held an event entitled Steam on the Road at Kidderminster Station. The event Featured a variety of approximately eight full size traction engines, and up to 4 miniature engines including roadgoing steam vehicles, Steam Rollers, traction engines, Showmans Engines and steam wagons. There were also Steam Trains running on the Severn Valley Railway including Brakevan rides on GWR 0-6-0 tank engine No. 1450 at Kidderminster station

Tribute to Kenny Baker

Best known for portraying the Astromech Droid R2-D2 in Star Wars, The English actor Kenneth George “Kenny” Baker sadly died 13 August 2016. Baker was born 24 August 1934 and educated in Birmingham, West Midlands, and at boarding school in Kent. Although Baker stood 3 ft 8 in (112 cm) tall his parents were of average height. Originally he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and be an engraver, but had not received sufficient education. He went to live with his stepmother in Hastings, Sussex and in 1951 was approached on the street by a lady who invited him to join a theatrical troupe of dwarves and midgets. This was his first taste of show business. Later, he joined a circus for a brief time, learned to ice-skate and appeared in many ice shows. He had formed a successful comedy act called the Minitones with entertainer Jack Purvis when George Lucas hired him to be the man inside R2-D2 in Star Wars in 1977.

Baker appears in seven Star Wars films and played an additional role in 1983’s Return of the Jedi as Paploo, the Ewok who steals an Imperial speeder bike. He was originally going to play Wicket, but he fell ill and that role was handed over to Warwick Davis. Kenny is featured on Justin Lee Collins’s “Bring Back Star Wars”. He revealed a feud between him and his co-star Anthony Daniels. He claimed Daniels had been rude to him on numerous occasions, and states that Daniels is rude to everyone, including fans.

Baker’s other films include The Elephant Man, Time Bandits and Willow (alongside Jack Purvis), Flash Gordon, Amadeus and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. On television, he appeared in the British medical drama Casualty. In the late 1990s, Baker launched a short stand up comedy career. Baker played harmonica with the James Coutts’ Scottish Dance Band at Hugh McCaig’s Silverstone Party in July 1997. In November 2009, his biography entitled From Tiny Acorns: The Kenny Baker Story was made available through his website and at conventions and book signings. It was written with Ken Mills. He has since reprised his role as R2-D2 in Star Wars Episode VII, The Force Awakens and He also had a part in the BBC production of “The Chronicles of Narnia”.

Enzo Ferrari

ferrari_166mm_corsa_1950Italian motor racing legend and entrepreneur, the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team and Ferrari automobile marque Enzo Ferrari, sadly died 14 August 1988. He Was born February 18, 1898 in Modena, Italy. Ferrari grew up with little formal education but a strong desire to race cars. At the age of 10 and seeing 1908 Circuit di Bologna, he decided to become a racing Driver.During World War I he was assigned to the third Alpine Artillery division of the Italian Army. His father Alfredo, as well as his older brother, also named Alfredo, died in 1916 as a result of a widespread Italian flu outbreak. Ferrari became severely ill himself in the 1918 flu pandemic and was consequently discharged from Italian service. Upon returning home he found that the family firm had collapsed. Having no other job prospects, Ferrari eventually settled for a job at a smaller car company called CMN (Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali), redesigning used truck bodies into small passenger cars. He took up racing in 1919 on the CMN team, but had little initial success.

Ferrari-250-gto2He left CMN in 1920 to work at Alfa Romeo and racing their cars in local races he had more success. In 1923, racing in Ravenna, he acquired the Prancing Horse badge which decorated the fuselage of Francesco Baracca’s (Italy’s leading ace of WWI) SPAD S.XIII fighter, given from his mother, taken from the wreckage of the plane after his mysterious death. This icon would have to wait until 1932 to be displayed on a racing car.In 1924 Ferrari won the Coppa Acerbo at Pescara. His successes in local races encouraged Alfa to offer him a chance of much more prestigious competition. Ferrari turned this opportunity down and did not race again until 1927. He continued to work directly for Alfa Romeo until 1929 before starting Scuderia Ferrari as the racing team for Alfa.Ferrari managed the development of the factory Alfa cars, and built up a team of over forty drivers, including Giuseppe Campari and Tazio Nuvolari. Ferrari himself continued racing until 1932.

The support of Alfa Romeo lasted until 1933. Only at the intervention of Pirelli did Ferrari receive any cars at all. Despite the quality of the Scuderia drivers, the company won few victories. Auto Union and Mercedes dominated the era, but Ferrari achieved a notable victory when Tazio Nuvolari beat them on their home turf at the German Grand Prix in 1935.In 1937 Alfa took control of its racing efforts again, reducing Ferrari to Director of Sports under Alfa’s engineering director. Ferrari soon left, but a contract clause restricted him from racing or designing cars for four years.In response, Ferrari organized Auto-Avio Costruzioni, a company supplying parts to other racing teams. Ferrari did manage to manufacture two cars for the 1940 Mille Miglia, driven by Alberto Ascari and Lotario Rangoni. During World War II his firm was forced to undertake war production for Mussolini’s fascist government. Following Allied bombing of the factory, Ferrari relocated from Modena to Maranello. It was not until after World War II that Ferrari could start making cars bearing his name, founding today’s Ferrari S.p.A. in 1947.

Ferrari 335The first open-wheel race was in Turin in 1948 and the first victory came later in the year in Lago di Garda. Ferrari participated in the Formula 1 World Championship since its introduction in 1950 but the first victory was not until the British Grand Prix of 1951. The first championship came in 1952–53, with Alberto Ascari. The company also sold production sports cars in order to finance the racing endeavours not only in Grands Prix but also in events such as the Mille Miglia and Le Mans. Ferrari’s decision to continue racing in the Mille Miglia brought the company new victories and greatly increased public recognition. However, increasing speeds, poor roads, and nonexistent crowd protection eventually spelled disaster for both the race and Ferrari. During the 1957 Mille Miglia, near the town of Guidizzolo, a 4.0-litre Ferrari 335S driven by the flamboyant Alfonso de Portago was traveling at 250 km/h when it blew a tire and crashed into the roadside crowd, killing de Portago, his co-driver, and nine spectators, including five children. In response, Enzo Ferrari and Englebert, the tyre manufacturer, were charged with manslaughter in a lengthy criminal prosecution that was finally dismissed in 1961 .Many of the firm’s greatest victories came at Le Mans (14 victories, including six in a row 1960–65) and in Formula One during the 1950s and 1960s, with the successes of Juan-Manuel Fangio (1956), Mike Hawthorn (1958), Phil Hill (1961) and John Surtees (1964).

ferrariF40In 1969 the problems of reduced demand and inadequate financing forced Ferrari to allow Fiat to take a stake in the company. Ferrari had previously offered Ford the opportunity to buy the firm in 1963 for US$18 million but, late in negotiations, Ferrari withdrew once he realised that he would not have been able to retain control of the company sporting program. Ferrari became joint-stock and Fiat took a small share in 1965 and then in 1969 they increased their holding to 50% of the company. (In 1988 Fiat’s holding rose to 90%). In 1974 Ferrari nominated Luca Cordero di Montezemolo sporting director. Niki Lauda won the championship in 1975 and 1977. After those successes and another title for Jody Scheckter in 1979, the company’s Formula One championship hopes fell into the doldrums.1982 opened with a strong car, the 126C2, world-class drivers, and promising results in the early races. However, Gilles Villeneuve was killed in the 126C2 in May, and teammate Didier Pironi had his career cut short in a violent end over end flip on the misty back straight at Hockenheim in August. Pironi was leading the driver’s championship at the time; he would lose the lead as he sat out the remaining races. Ferrari remained chairman of the company until his death in 1988 but the team would not see championship glory again during his lifetime, However the Ferrari F40 was constructed the same year to celebrate forty years of Ferrari.

Alfred Hitchcock

British film director and Producer, Alfred Hitchcock KBE, was born 13 August 1899 in Leytonstone, London. Over a career spanning more than half a century, Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films, many of them psychological thrillers and among his most famous are Rebecca, North By Northwest, Notorious, The Birds, Psycho, Jamaica Inn, Rear Window, Rope, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo and Marnie.

During his career. Hitchcock developed many pioneering techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres during which he created a distinctive and recognisable directorial style. He pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a person’s gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism He framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative film editing. His stories frequently feature fugitives on the run from the law alongside “icy blonde” female characters. Many of Hitchcock’s films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime, although many of the mysteries function as decoys meant only to serve thematic elements in the film and the extremely complex psychological examinations of the characters. Hitchcock’s films also borrow many themes from psychoanalysis and feature strong sexual undertones. Through his cameo appearances in his own films, interviews, film trailers, and the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he became a cultural icon

Sadly  Alfred Hitchcock passed away on 29th April 1980 although he has left a long lasting legacy in the form of some fantastic timeless classics including Rebecca, Notorious, Saboteur, Spellbound, Psycho, Rope, The Birds, North by Northwest, Marnie, Vertigo, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Frenzy. He also came first in a 2007 poll of film critics in Britain’s Daily Telegraph, which said of him: “Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands, Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his characters and from us) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else.” The magazine MovieMaker also described him as the most influential filmmaker of all time, and he is widely regarded as one of cinema’s most significant artists.

Mark Collins (The Charlatans)

Mark Collins, English guitarist and songwriter with the The Charlatans and The Waltones was born.14th August 1965. The original members of the Charlatans comprised of Tim Burgess (vocals), Mark Collins (guitar), Martin Blunt (bass), Tony Rogers (keyboards) and Jon Brookes (drums and percussion) most were located in the West Midlands, however many sources state that they formed in Northwich, Cheshire. This is because the band relocated to the home town of new lead singer Tim Burgess (who lived in Northwich) before the 1990 release of The Charlatans’ debut single “Indian Rope”, on the band’s own Dead Dead Good Records label. This means that, based on the definition of the hometown used by Guinness World Records, the band formed in Northwich and consequently, Northwich is recorded as the home town in such publications as British Hit Singles & Albums. The Charlatan’s debut single, “Indian Rope” proved an indie hit and the group soon found a major label, Beggars Banquet off-shoot Situation Two, in time for the release of “The Only One I Know” which reached the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart. A further single, “Then”, and debut album Some Friendly, were released later that year. Around this time The Charlatans were forced to add UK to their name for an American tour due to competing claims by a 1960s rock band also known as The Charlatans.

Baker left the band after 1991′s “Over Rising” single to be replaced by Mark Collins (no relation to Rob), and the band brought in producer Flood for their second album Between 10th and 11th (named after the address of the New York Marque, site of the group’s first US concert). Released in early 1992, the album failed to reach the Top 20 in the UK Albums Chart. However, the Top 20 success of the lead single “Weirdo” and a double weekend of gigs (‘Daytripper’) in Blackpool and Brighton with Ride kept them in the public eye.The follow-up album, Up To Our Hips (1994) reached number 8 in the UK Albums Chart. In 1995 the band’s self-titled fourth album saw them become major UK stars again, topping the UK albums chart and spawning the Top 20 single “Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over”.The fifth album Tellin’ Stories was released in 1997 and contained the singles “One to Another”, “North Country Boy” and “How High”. In 1998 they released the career-spanning compilation Melting Pot. The band also helped put “The B-sides collection Songs From The Other Side” and DVD “Just Lookin’ 1990 – 1997″ together

Following the album Us And Us Only,The band released their ninth full-length album on 10 April 2006. Titled Simpatico, it was a reggae and dub tinged album and featured tracks like the fan favourite “NYC (There’s No Need to Stop)” and “Blackened Blue Eyes”. Their follow-up to Simpatico was another career-spanning singles compilation entitled Forever: The Singles which was released on CD and DVD on 13 November 2006. In an October 2007 issue of the NME, the band contributed the song “Blank Heart, Blank Mind” to the magazine’s free Love Music, Hate Racism compilation CD. Later the same month, the new single “You Cross My Path” was released as a free download exclusively through the XFM website. On the 3 March 2008, The Charlatans teamed up with Xfm again to become the first UK band to release an album completely free to download via a radio station. This was preceded a week earlier by the second single from the album, “Oh! Vanity”. The album, titled You Cross My Path, is The Charlatans’ tenth studio album and received a physical CD/LP release on 19 May 2008. Their eleventh studio album, Who We Touch, was released on 6 September 2010 and The first single release was “Love Is Ending”.

In 2011 Universal Music re-released a deluxe edition of the band’s Us & Us Only album, originally released in 1999, featuring a collection of bonus tracks including B-sides, live recordings, radio sessions and rare remixes. In March/April 2011 Tim Burgess and Mark Collins played an acoustic tour of the UK. To coincide with the acoustic tour the band released Warm Sounds EP. Featuring six stripped-down and reworked versions of Charlatans tracks including “North Country Boy”, “The Only One I Know” and “Smash The System”. It was available to download from iTunes and The Charlatans website

Larry Graham (Sly and the Family Stone)

larry Graham, American singer-songwriter, bass player, and producer (Sly and the Family Stone and Graham Central Station) was born 14 August 1946. Sly & the Family Stone, played a critical role in the development of soul, funk and psychedelia in the 1960s and 1970s, with songs like “Stand“, “I Want To Take You Higher”, “Sing A Simple Song”, “If You Want Me To Stay“, and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” In 1993, lead singer Sly Stone was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Funkadelic

Along with James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic, Sly & the Family Stone were pioneers of late 1960s and early ’70s funk. Their fusion of R&B rhythms, infectious melodies, and psychedelia created a new pop/soul/rock hybrid the impact of which has proven lasting and widespread. Motown producer Norman Whitfield, for example, patterned the label’s forays into harder-driving, socially relevant material (such as The Temptations’ “Runaway Child” and “Ball of Confusion”) based on their sound. The pioneering precedent of Stone’s racial, sexual, and stylistic mix, had a major influence in the 1980s on artists such as Prince and Rick James. Legions of artists from the 1990s forward — including Public Enemy, Fatboy Slim, Beck and many others — mined Stone’s seminal back catalog for hook-laden samples. After a mildly received debut album, A Whole New Thing (1967), Sly & The Family Stone had their first hit single with “Dance to the Music“, which was later included on an album of the same name (1968). Although their third album, Life (also 1968), also suffered from low sales, their fourth album, Stand! (1969), became a runaway success, selling over three million copies and spawning a number one hit single, “Everyday People“. By the summer of 1969, Sly & The Family Stone were one of the biggest names in music, releasing three more top five singles, “Hot Fun in the Summertime” and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” / “Everybody Is a Star”, before the end of the year, and appearing at Woodstock.

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE -LIFE http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ejWNxNir3mA

Sadly though With the band’s new found fame and success came numerous problems. Relationships within the band were deteriorating; there was friction in particular between the Stone brothers & Bass player Larry Graham. After moving to the Los Angeles area in fall 1969, Stone and his bandmates became heavy users of illegal drugs, As the members became increasingly focused on drug use and partying (Stone carried a violin case filled with illegal drugs wherever he went), recording slowed significantly. Between summer 1969 and fall 1971, the band released only one single, which was one of the first recordings to employ the heavy, funky beats that would be featured in the funk music of the following decade. It showcased Graham’s innovative percussive playing technique of bass “slapping”. During this time Stone’s behavior became increasingly erratic.

New material was anticipated in 1970, but with none forthcoming, a Greatest Hits album was released that November. One year later, the band’s fifth album, There’s a Riot Goin’ On, was released. Riot featured a much darker sound as most tracks were recorded with overdubbing as opposed to The Family Stone all playing at the same time as they had done previously. Stone played most of the parts himself and performed more of the lead vocals than usual. It was also the first major label album to feature a drum machine. The band’s cohesion slowly began to erode, and its sales and popularity began to decline as well. Live bookings for Sly & the Family Stone had also steadily dropped since 1970. The final straw came In January 1975, after the band booked itself at Radio City Music Hall. The famed music hall was only one-eighth occupied, and Stone and company had to scrape together money to return home, Following the Radio City engagement, the band was dissolved.

In 2007 Stone made a short guest appearance at a show of The New Family Stone band he supports at the House of Blues. On April 1, 2007, Stone appeared with the Family Stone at the Flamingo Las Vegas Showroom, after George Wallace’s standup act. On July 7, 2007 Stone also made a short appearance with the Family Stone at the San Jose, CA Summerfest. On Labor Day, September 7, 2009, Stone emerged at the 20th annual African Festival of the Arts in Chicago, Ill. He performed a 15 minute set during George Clinton’s Performance. He performed his popular hits along with George Clinton’s band. He left immediately after his short performance. On December 6, 2009, Sly signed a new recording contract with the LA based Cleopatra Records and on August 16, 2011, I’m Back! Family & Friends was released, the first Sly Stone album since 1982′s Ain’t But the One Way. The album features re-recorded versions of Sly & the Family Stone’s greatest hits with guest appearances from Jeff Beck, Ray Manzarek, Bootsy Collins, Ann Wilson, Carmine Appice and Johnny Winter, as well as three previously unreleased songs.

Bambi

Disney’s classic fifth animated film Bambi was released 13 August 1942 in the United States. It concerns a recently born Fawn named Bambi who joins his new friends in the Springtime, a young rabbit named Thumper and a skunk kit named Flower who happily explore the woods. Bambi is also captivated with a Young doe named Faline, and also learns that his father is the Great Prince of the Forest.

However as Bambi, Thumper and Flower grow up, they discover that besides the delights of the forest, there are also many mortal dangers lurking, particularly in open meadows where hunters can see them and this ends in tragedy for Bambi’s Mother. Although fear and tragedy touch Bambi’s life, he learns how to survive in the forest with the help of his friends Thumper and Flower and lives to see another spring, which brings renewal to the forest and gradually he grows up and mates with Faline, and they produce the next generation of fawns until he himself eventually takes his place as the Great Prince of the Forest like his Father before him.