Posted in books, Television

Malcolm Bradbury CBE

English author and academic Sir Malcolm Bradbury CBE was born 7 September 1932 in Sheffield. His family moved to London in 1935, but returned to Sheffield in 1941 with his brother and mother. The family later moved to Nottingham and in 1943 Bradbury attended West Bridgford Grammar School, where he remained until 1950. He read English at University College, Leicester and gained a first-class degree in English in 1953. He continued his studies at Queen Mary College, University of London, where he gained his MA in 1955.

Between 1955 and 1958 Bradbury moved between teaching posts with the University of Manchester and Indiana University in the United States. He returned to England in 1958 for a major heart operation; such was his heart condition that he was not expected to live beyond middle age. In 1959, while in hospital, he completed his first novel, Eating People is Wrong. Bradbury married Elizabeth Salt and they had two sons. He took up his first teaching post as an adult-education tutor at the University of Hull. With his study on Evelyn Waugh in 1962 he began his career of writing and editing critical books. From 1961 to 1965 he taught at the University of Birmingham. He completed his PhD in American studies at the University of Manchester in 1962, moving to the University of East Anglia (his second novel, Stepping Westward, appeared in 1965), where he became Professor of American Studies in 1970 and launched the MA in Creative Writing course, attended by both Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro. He published Possibilities: Essays on the State of the Novel in 1973, The History Man in 1975, Who Do You Think You Are? in 1976, Rates of Exchange in 1983 and Cuts: A Very Short Novel in 1987.

He also published books on Evelyn Waugh, Saul Bellow and E. M. Forster, as well as editions of such modern classics as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and a number of surveys and handbooks of modern fiction, both British and American. However, he is best known to a wider public as a novelist. Although often compared with his contemporary David Lodge, a friend who has also written campus novels, Bradbury’s books are consistently darker in mood and less playful both in style and language. In 1986 he wrote a short humorous book titled Why Come to Slaka?, a parody of travel books, dealing with Slaka, the fictional Eastern European country that is the setting for his novel Rates of Exchange, a 1983 novel that was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

He also wrote extensively for television, including scripting series such as Anything More Would Be Greedy, The Gravy Train, the sequel The Gravy Train Goes East (which explored life in Bradbury’s fictional Slaka), and adapting novels such as Tom Sharpe’s Blott on the Landscape and Porterhouse Blue, Alison Lurie’s Imaginary Friends and Kingsley Amis’s The Green Man. His last television script was the episode Foreign Bodies for the series Dalziel and Pascoe.

He retired from academic life in 1995. Bradbury became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1991 for services to literature and was made a Knight Bachelor in the New Year Honours 2000, again for services to literature. Bradbury died at Priscilla Bacon Lodge, Colman Hospital, Norwich, 27 November 2000. He was buried on 4 December 2000 in the churchyard of St Mary’s parish church, Tasburgh, a village near Norwich where the Bradburys owned a second home. Though he was not an orthodox religious believer, he respected the traditions and socio-cultural role of the Church of England and enjoyed visiting churches in the spirit of Philip Larkin’s poem “Church Going”.

Posted in books

Far from true by Linwood Barclay

Having read Broken Promise I would like to read Far from true, the second of the exciting and spine chilling Promise Falls trilogy by New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Linwood Barclay. It is set in the troubled town of Promise Falls and follows on from the electrifying cliffhanger ending of Broken Promise.

It begins After the screen of a run-down drive-in movie theater collapses and kills four people, including Lucy Brighton’s Father. Lucy also asks private investigator Cal Weaver to look into a recent break-in at her father’s house. However Cal isn’t prepared for what he finds after he discovers a secret ‘playroom’ in the basement, complete with video equipment, where it’s clear that salacious activities have taken place—as well as evidence of missing DVDs. and it looks as though there’s a missing recording. However his investigation soon becomes more complicated when he realizes it may not be discs the thief was actually interested in.

Meanwhile, Detective Barry Duckworth is still trying to solve two murders—one of which is three years old—he believes are connected, since each featured a similar distinctive wound. Cal finds himself headed straight into the heart of a dark secret as his search uncovers more startling truths about Promise Falls. And when yet another murder happens, Cal and Barry are both driven to pursue their investigations, no matter where they lead. Evil deeds long thought buried are about to haunt the residents of this town—as the sins of the past and present collide with terrifying result and it becomes clear that someone is targeting Promise Falls.

Posted in music

Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)

Roger Waters was born on 6 September 1943, in Great Bookham, Surrey. He attended Morley Memorial Junior School in Cambridge and then the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys (now Hills Road Sixth Form College) with Syd Barrett, while his future musical partner, David Gilmour, lived nearby on the city’s Mill Road, and attended the Perse School.At 15, Waters was chairman of the Cambridge Youth Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (YCND), having designed its publicity poster and participated in its organisation.Though he was a keen sportsman and a highly regarded member of the high school’s cricket and rugby teams. Whereas Waters knew Barrett and Gilmour from his childhood in Cambridge, he met future Pink Floyd founder members Nick Mason and Richard Wright in London at the Regent Street Polytechnic (later the University of Westminster) school of architecture. Waters enrolled there in 1962, and initially considered a career in mechanical engineering.

However By September 1963, Waters and Mason had lost interest in their studies; they had moved into the lower flat of Stanhope Gardens, owned by Mike Leonard, a part-time tutor at the Regent Street Polytechnic.15] Waters, Mason and Wright first played music together in the autumn of 1963, in a band formed by vocalist Keith Noble and bassist Clive Metcalfe. They usually called themselves Sigma 6, but also used the name the Meggadeaths. Waters played rhythm guitar and Mason played drums, Wright played on any keyboard. In the early years the band performed during private functions and rehearsed in a tearoom in the basement of Regent Street Polytechnic. When Metcalfe and Noble left to form their own group in September 1963, the remaining members asked Barrett and guitarist Bob Klose to join. Waters switched to the bass and by January 1964, the group became known as the Abdabs, the Screaming Abdabs, Leonard’s Lodgers, Spectrum Five, the Tea Set and finally Pink Floyd. By early 1966 Barrett was Pink Floyd’s front-man, guitarist, and songwriter.

He wrote or co-wrote all but one track of their debut LP The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, released in 1967.Waters contributed the song “Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk”. Unfortunately Barrett’s deteriorating mental health and increasingly erratic behaviour, rendered him “unable or unwilling” to continue in his capacity as Pink Floyd’s singer-songwriter and lead guitarist and in 1968 Barrett agreed to leave Pink Floyd and David Gilmour arrived In April 1968. After Barrett’s departure in March 1968, Waters began to chart Pink Floyd’s artistic direction. He became the principal songwriter, lyricist and co-lead vocalist (along with Gilmour, and at times, Wright), and would remain the band’s dominant creative figure until his departure in 1985. He wrote the lyrics to the five Pink Floyd albums starting with The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) and ending with The Final Cut (1983), exerting progressively more creative control over the band and its music. The Dark Side of the Moon became one of the most commercially successful rock albums ever. It was followed by Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979) and The Final Cut (1983). He often referred to the cost of war and the loss of his father throughout his work, from “Corporal Clegg” (A Saucerful of Secrets, 1968) and “Free Four” (Obscured by Clouds, 1972) to “Us and Them” from The Dark Side of the Moon, “When the Tigers Broke Free”, first used in the feature film, The Wall (1982) and the “The Fletcher Memorial Home”. The last band performance of The Wall was on 16 June 1981, at Earls Court London, and this was Pink Floyd’s last appearance with Waters until the band’s brief reunion at 2 July 2005 Live 8 concert in London’s Hyde Park, 24 years later. In March 1983, the last Waters–Gilmour–Mason collaboration, The Final Cut, was released. The album was subtitled: “A requiem for the post-war dream by Roger Waters, The lyrics were critical of the Conservative Party government of the day.

Amidst a power struggle and creative differences within the group, Waters left Pink Floyd in 1985, and began a bitter legal battle with the remaining band members regarding their continued use of the name and material. In October 1986, he initiated High Court proceedings to formally dissolve the Pink Floyd partnership, referring to Pink Floyd as a “spent force creatively”. Gilmore and Mason opposed the application and announced their intention to continue as Pink Floyd. A settlement was finally reached 1987. Waters was released from his contractual obligation and he retained the copyrights to The Wall concept and the inflatable Animals pig. Subsequently Pink Floyd released three studio albums without Waters: A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987), The Division Bell (1994) and The Final Cut.

Following the release of The Final Cut, Waters embarked on a solo career that produced three concept albums and a movie soundtrack. In 1984 he released The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, which features guitarist Eric Clapton, jazz saxophonist David Sanborn, and artwork by Gerald Scarfe. In 1986, Waters contributed songs and a score to the soundtrack of the animated movie When the Wind Blows, based on the Raymond Briggs book of the same name. His backing band featuring Paul Carrack was credited as The Bleeding Heart Band. In 1987, Waters released Radio K.A.O.S., a concept album based on a mute man named Billy from an impoverished Welsh mining town who has the ability to physically tune into radio waves in his head. Billy first learns to communicate with a radio DJ, and eventually to control the world’s computers. Angry at the state of the world in which he lives, he simulates a nuclear attack.

In November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, and in July 1990 Waters staged one of the largest and most elaborate rock concerts in history, The Wall – Live in Berlin, on the vacant terrain between Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburg Gate. The show reported an official attendance of 200,000, with one billion television viewers. Leonard Cheshire asked him to do the concert to raise funds for charity. Waters’ group of musicians included Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams, Scorpions, and Sinéad O’Connor. Waters also used an East German symphony orchestra and choir, a Soviet marching band, and a pair of helicopters from the US 7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron.

On 1992 He released his third studio album, Amused to Death, Which is heavily influenced by the events of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and the Gulf War, and a critique of the notion of war becoming the subject of entertainment, particularly on television. The title was derived from the book Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. It featured Jeff Beck on lead guitar on many of the album’s tracks. The album also garnered some comparison to his previous work with Pink Floyd. Waters described the record as, a “stunning piece of work”, ranking the album with Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall as one of the best of his career. It featured the song “What God Wants, Pt. 1”.

In 1999, after a 12-year hiatus from touring, and a seven-year absence from the music industry, Waters embarked on the In the Flesh tour, performing both solo and Pink Floyd material. A concert film was released on CD and DVD, named In the Flesh – Live. During the tour, he played two new songs “Flickering Flame” and “Each Small Candle”In June 2002, he performed in front of 70,000 people at the Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts, playing 15 Pink Floyd songs and five songs from his solo catalogue.

Waters played a prominent roll In the 2004 aBroadway Production of The Wall , this contained original tracks from The Wall, and songs from Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and other Pink Floyd albums, as well as new material. In July 2004, Waters also released two new tracks on the Internet: “To Kill the Child”, inspired by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and “Leaving Beirut”, an anti-war song “inspired by his travels in the Middle East as a teenager”. In 2005, Waters reunited with Mason, Wright, and Gilmour for what would be their final performance together at the 2005 Live 8 concert in London’s Hyde Park, Pink Floyd’s only appearance with Waters since their final performance of The Wall at Earls Court London 24 years earlier. They played a 23-minute set consisting of “Speak to Me/Breathe”/”Breathe (Reprise)”, “Money”, “Wish You Were Here”, and “Comfortably Numb”. In November 2005, Pink Floyd were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame by Pete Townshend of the Who.

In September 2005, Waters released Ça Ira French for “it will be fine”; Waters added the subtitle, “There is Hope”), an opera in three acts translated from the late Étienne Roda-Gil’s French libretto based on the historical subject of the French Revolution. featuring baritone Bryn Terfel, soprano Ying Huang and tenor Paul Groves. Set during the early French Revolution, the original libretto was co-written in French by Roda-Gil and his wife Nadine Delahaye. Waters had begun rewriting the libretto in English in 1989. In June 2006, Waters commenced The Dark Side of the Moon Live tour, a two-year, world-spanning effort that began in Europe in June and North America in September. The first half of the show featured both Pink Floyd songs and Waters’ solo material, while the second half included a complete live performance of the 1973 Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon, using elaborate staging as well as laser lights, fog machines, pyrotechnics, psychedelic projections, and inflatable floating puppets (Spaceman and Pig) controlled by a “handler” dressed as a butcher, and a full 360-degree quadraphonic sound system was used. Nick Mason joined Waters for The Dark Side of the Moon set and the encores on select 2006 tour dates. In March 2007, Waters also wrote the song, “Hello (I Love You)” for the science fiction film The Last Mimzy. He also performed at California’s Coachella Festival in April 2008 and was to be among the headlining artists performing at Live Earth 2008 in Mumbai, India in December 2008,but that concert was cancelled in light of the 26 November terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

n June 2010, Waters released a cover of “We Shall Overcome”, a protest song rewritten and arranged by Guy Carawan and Pete Seeger at the Highlander Folk School possibly derived either from the refrain of a gospel hymn published by Charles Albert Tindley in 1901, but more likely from Louise Shropshire’s hymn, “If My Jesus Wills.” He performed with David Gilmour at the Hoping Foundation Benefit Evening in July 2010, plating: “To Know Him Is to Love Him”,”Wish You Were Here”, “Comfortably Numb”, and “Another Brick in the Wall (Part Two)”.Waters also commenced The Wall Live tour, an updated version of the original Pink Floyd shows, featuring a complete performance of The Wall Which has been described as one of the most ambitious and complex rock shows ever . At The O2 Arena in London on 12 May 2011, Gilmour and Mason once again appeared with Waters and Gilmour performing “Comfortably Numb”, and Gilmour and Mason joining Waters for “Outside the Wall”. Waters also performed at the Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden on 12 December 2012 and headlined the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island in 2015 accompanied by the band My Morning Jacket and two singers from the group Lucius.

As a member of Pink Floyd, Waters was inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. That same year he released Ça Ira, an opera in three acts translated from Étienne and Nadine Roda-Gils’ libretto about the French Revolution. Later that year, he reunited with Pink Floyd bandmates Mason, Wright and David Gilmour for the Live 8 global awareness event; it was the group’s first appearance with Waters since 1981. He has toured extensively as a solo act since 1999 and played The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety for his world tour of 2006–2008. In 2010, he began The Wall Live and in 2011 Gilmour and Mason appeared with him during a performance of the double album in London. As of 2013, the tour is the highest-grossing of all time by a solo artist.

Posted in music

Buddy Miller

Country singer, songwriter, musician, recording artist and producer, Steven P. “Buddy” Miller was born September 6, 1952 in Fairborn, Ohio) Miller formed the Buddy Miller Band, which included singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin on vocals and guitar. In addition to releasing several solo albums over the years, Miller has toured as lead guitarist and backing vocalist for Emmylou Harris’s Spyboy band, Steve Earle on his El Corazon tour, Shawn Colvin, and Linda Ronstadt. He co-produced and performed on Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s 2000 album Endless Night. He has also appeared on several albums by songwriter and singer Lucinda Williams.

In 2004, Miller toured with Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch, and David Rawlings as the Sweet Harmony Traveling Revue. At the 4th Annual Americana Music Association Honors & Awards, the Ryman Auditorium September 2005, Miller received the Album of the Year Award for Universal United House of Prayer, and the opening cut of that album, “Worry Too Much” (penned by Mark Heard, and originally released on his Second Hand album), won the Song of the Year Award.

Buddy Miller has also produced albums for a number of artists. During 2006 Solomon Burke came over to Miller’s house at Nashville to record his country album ‘Nashville’ on which Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch and Dolly Parton appear as duet partners. He has a signature acoustic guitar made by the Fender company, and frequently uses vintage Wandré electric guitars. Buddy Miller toured as part of the band on Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’s Raising Sand tour of the USA and Europe, and with Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin and Shawn Colvin on the Three Girls and Their Buddy tour. While on tour, Miller suffered a heart attack in Baltimore on February 19, 2009 following his performance as part of the MammoJam Music Festival and underwent triple bypass surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital on 20 February.

At the annual Americana Music Association Honors and Awards program at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee on September 18, 2008, Miller received the “AMA Instrumentalist Of The Year” award, which was presented to him by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Miller was joined by Plant on a performance of a new song “Whatcha Gonna Do, Leroy” from his album Written in Chalk which was released in March 2009. He also was part of the band for John Fogerty’s The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again in 2009. In 2010, Miller again joined Robert Plant and Patty Griffin with Robert Plant’s Band of Joy, touring both the US and Europe. Miller also produced Patty Griffin’s Downtown Church which was released in 2010 and won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Gospel Album on February 2010. Miller is currently living in Nashville, Tennessee. Miller is married to and has recorded with singer-songwriter Julie Miller and has also worked on Robert Plant’s latest album Lullaby….and the Ceaseless Roar.

Posted in music

Keith Moon (The Who)

the-whoThe late Great Keith Moon, The drummer with English rock group The Who, sadly passed away on 7 September 1978. Born 23 August 1946, Moon grew up in Wembley, London and took up drumming in the early 1960s. After performing with local band The Beachcombers, he joined The Who in 1964, before they had recorded their first single. He stayed with the band during their rise to fame, He occasionally collaborated with other musicians, and later made appearances on radio and film,Moon took lessons from one of the loudest contemporary drummers, Screaming Lord Sutch’s Carlo Little, at ten shillings a time. Moon initially played in the drumming style of American surf rock and jazz, with a mix of R&B, using grooves and fills of those genres, exemplified by the noted Los Angeles studio drummer Hal Blaine. But Moon played faster and louder, with more persistence and authority. Moon’s favourite musicians were jazz artists, particularly Gene Krupa, whose flamboyant style he subsequently copied. He also admired DJ Fontana, Ringo Starr, and The Shadows’ original drummer, Tony Meehan. As well as drumming, Moon was interested in singing, with a particular interest in Motown. One band Moon notably idolised was The Beach Boys. During this time, Moon joined his first serious band, The Escorts, replacing his then best friend, Gerry Evans. In December 1962, he joined The Beachcombers, a semi-professional London cover band who played rock’n’roll and hits by groups such as The Shadows.]During his time in the group, Moon incorporated various theatrical tricks into his act, including one instance where he “shot” the group’s lead singer with a starter pistol. The Beachcombers all had day jobs, including Moon, who was working in the sales department ofBritish Gypsum. He had the most interest among the band members in turning fully professional. So on April 1964, aged 17 he auditioned for The Who, who were looking for a permanent replacement for Doug Sandom.

Moon’s arrival in The Who changed the dynamics of the group. Sandom had generally been the members to keep peace as Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend feuded between themselves, but because of Moon’s temperament, this no longer occurred, so the group now had four members who would frequently be in conflict. “We used to fight regularly”, remembered Moon in later years. “John Entwistle and I used to have fights – it wasn’t very serious, it was more of an emotional spur-of-the moment thing”.Moon also clashed with Daltrey and Townshend, saying “We really have absolutely nothing in common apart from music” in a later interview.Although Townshend described him as a “completely different person to anyone I’ve ever met,” the pair did form a rapport in the early years, and enjoyed performing practical jokes and comedy improvisations together. Moon’s style of playing affected The Who’s musical structure, and while Entwistle initially found his lack of traditional time-keeping to be problematic, it created an original sound. Moon was known for his unique distinctive drumming style, which included exuberant and innovative drumming style, which was dramatic, suspenseful and often eschewed basic back beats for a fluid, busy technique focused on fast, cascading rolls across the toms, ambidextrous double bass drum work and wild cymbal crashes and washes playing zig-zag across the kit with a wash of cymbal. He joined The Who in 1964 along with Roger Daltrey (lead vocals, harmonica and guitar), Pete Townshend and John Entwistle (bass guitar, brass and vocals), and played on all albums and singles from their debut, 1964′s “Zoot Suit”, to 1978′s Who Are You,

Moon was particularly fond of touring with The Who, since it was the only chance he regularly got to socialise with his bandmates, and was generally restless and bored when he was not playing with the band. This would carry over to other aspects of his life later on, as he acted them out, as if his life were one long tour”.Antics like these earned him the nickname “Moon the Loon”.Moon led a very destructive lifestyle. From the first days of The Who, he began taking amphetamines, and in an early interview for the New Musical Express listed his favourite food as “French Blues”. He began visiting Soho clubs such as the Speakeasy and the Bag o’ Nails regularly, and the combination of pills and alcohol would continue to escalate into alcoholism and drug addiction later in life.We went through the same stages everybody goes through – the bloody drug corridor,” he later reflected, adding “Drinking suited the group a lot better”. According to Townshend, Moon began destroying hotel rooms when The Who were staying at the Hilton in Berlin on tour in autumn 1966.As well as hotels, Moon went on to destroy the homes of friends and even his own home, throwing furniture out of high windows and setting fire to buildings. Andrew Neill and Matthew Kent estimated that his destruction of hotel toilets and plumbing ran as high as £300,000. These destructive acts, often fuelled by drugs and alcohol, were Moon’s way of expressing his eccentricity; he enjoyed shocking the public with them. Longtime friend and personal assistant Dougal Butler observed: “He was trying to make people laugh and be Mr Funny, he wanted people to love him and enjoy him, but he would go so far. Like a train ride you couldn’t stop.”[74]Once, while riding in a limousine on the way to an airport, Moon insisted they return to their hotel, saying, “I forgot something.” On reaching the hotel, he ran back to his room, grabbed the television, and threw it out the window into the swimming pool below. He then left the hotel and jumped back into the limo, sighing, “I nearly forgot. In one case, The Who were due to perform at The Valley (the London home of Charlton Athletic F.C.). The band members were waiting in the dressing room for Moon to arrive. A witness described the drummer’s sudden entry to the building: “Suddenly, there was a great crash and Keith Moon dropped through the ceiling, having smashed his way through the corrugated iron roof.”

Moon particularly enjoyed throwing cherry bombs down toilets while on tour. In time, he eventually used dynamite to destroy toilets, leading to an estimated figure of $500,000 damage to plumbing and fixtures. Moon’s favourite stunt was to flush powerful explosives down toilets. According to Fletcher, Moon’s toilet pyrotechnics began in 1965 when he purchased 500 cherry bombs.Over time, Moon graduated from cherry bombs to M-80 fireworks to sticks of dynamite, which became his explosive of choice.”All that porcelain flying through the air was quite unforgettable,” Moon recalled. “I never realised dynamite was so powerful. I’d been used to penny bangers before.”Moon quickly developed a reputation of “leaving holes” in bathroom floors and completely annihilating the toilets. The destruction mesmerized Moon and enhanced his public image as rock and roll’s premier hellraiser. Fletcher goes on to state that, “no toilet in a hotel or changing room was safe,” until Moon had exhausted his supply of explosives.On one occasion, Townshend walked into a hotel bathroom where Moon was staying, and noticed the toilet had disappeared, with just an S bend remaining. In response, Moon explained that a cherry bomb was about to detonate, so he threw it down the pan. He proceeded to present a case of five hundred bombs. “And of course from that moment on”, recalled Townshend, “we got thrown out of every hotel we ever stayed in.”Entwistle recalled being close to Moon on tour, stating “I suppose we were two of a kind” … “We shared a room on the road and got up to no good,” and consequently the two of them were often involved blowing up toilets together. In a 1981 interview with the Los Angeles Times, he confessed, “A lot of times when Keith was blowing up toilets I was standing behind him with the matches.”On one occasion, a hotel manager called Moon in his room and asked him to lower the volume on his cassette music player; the manager said The Who were making “too much noise.” In response, Moon asked the manager up to his room. When the manager arrived, Moon excused himself to the bathroom, lit a stick of dynamite in the toilet, and shut the bathroom door. Upon returning to the room, he asked the manager to stay for just a moment longer, as he wanted to explain something. Following the explosion, Moon informed the startled manager, “That was noise.” Moon then turned the cassette player back on and proclaimed, “This is The ‘Oo.”on another occasion in Alabama, Moon and Entwistle loaded a toilet with cherry bombs after being told that they could not receive room service. According to Entwistle, “That toilet was just dust all over the walls by the time we checked out. The management brought our suitcases down to the gig and said: ‘Don’t come back …’

At The site of the former Holiday Inn inFlint, Michigan. Moon’s 21st birthday party there became a notorious event in rock folklore. Since this picture was taken, most of the building has been demolished.On 23 August 1967, while on tour as the opening act for Herman’s Hermits, Moon reached new levels of excess at a Holiday Inn hotel in Flint, Michigan. They were celebrating Moon’s 21st birthday, although it was believed to be his 20th at the time. Entwistle later said, “He decided that if it was a publicised fact that it was his 21st birthday, he would be able to drink.]Moon immediately began drinking upon arriving in Flint. The Who spent the afternoon visiting local radio stations with Nancy Lewis, then the band’s publicist. Moon later posed for a photo outside the Holiday Inn in front of the “Happy Birthday Keith” sign erected by the hotel’s management. According to Lewis, Moon was very drunk by the time the band took to the stage at the Atwood High School football stadium.[84]Upon returning to the hotel, Moon decided to start a food fight, and soon, cake began flying through the air. The evening culminated in Moon’s knocking his front tooth out. At a nearby hospital, doctors could not give him anaesthetic due to his inebriated state and he had to endure the removal of the remainder of the tooth without it. Back at the hotel, a melee erupted with fire extinguishers set off, guests and objects thrown into the swimming pool, and a piano reportedly destroyed. The chaos was halted only when police arrived, handguns drawn

Sadly Moon’s wild lifestyle began to undermine his health, music, and his reliability as a band member. During the 1973 Quadrophenia tour, at The Who’s debut US date in the Cow PalaceArena, Daly City, California, Moon ingested a large mixture of tranquillisers and brandy. In a 1979 interview, Townshend claimed that Moon had consumed Ketamine pills,[88] while Fletcher claims he took PCP. During the concert, Moon passed out on his drum kit while the band was playing the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. The band stopped playing and a group of roadies carried Moon offstage. They gave him a shower and an injection of cortisone, then sent him back onstage after a thirty-minute delay. Moon passed out for good during the song “Magic Bus” and was again removed from the stage. The band continued without him for a few songs. Finally, Townshend asked, “Can anyone play the drums? – I mean somebody good”. A drummer in the audience, Scot Halpin, came up and played for the rest of the show. In the 1970s, Moon also suffered from a number of tragedies, notably the accidental death of his chauffeur, Neil Boland, and the breakdown of his marriage. He became increasingly addicted to drink, particularly brandy and champagne, and started to acquire a reputation for decadence and dark humour, giving him the nickname “Moon The Loon”. After relocating to Los Angeles during the mid-1970s with his personal assistant, Peter “Dougal” Butler, he attempted to make his only solo album, the poorly received Two Sides of the Moon. By the time of The Who’s final tours in 1976, and particularly during filming of The Kids Are Alright and recording of Who Are You, the gradual deterioration of his condition started to show, he blacked out on stage, and he was hospitalised on several occasions. Moon moved back to London in 1978, and died in 7 September 1978 after overdosing onHeminevrin, a drug designed to help curb alcohol abuse.

His eccentric and often self-destructive antics of Rock’n’Roll excess off stage have since become the stuff of legend and he is mentioned in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the greatest of all rock and roll drummers, and was posthumously inducted into the Rock Hall as a member of The Who in 1990. Moon’s legacy, as a member of The Who, as a solo artist, and as an eccentric personality, continues to garner awards and praise, including a Rolling Stone readers’ pick placing him in second place of the magazine’s “best drummers of all time” in 2011, nearly 35 years after his death.

Posted in aviation, Health

Leonard Cheshire

Best known for his work for disabled people, Group Captain Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire, Baron Cheshire, VC, OM, DSO and Two Bars, DFC was Born 7 September 1917. During the Second Worl he became a highly decorated British RAF pilot d War.Among the honours Cheshire received as a pilot is the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.He was the youngest Group Captain in the RAF and one of the most highly decorated pilots of the War but after serving as the British observer on theNagasaki nuclear attack he resigned from the Air Force. He founded a hospice which grew into the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability and he became known for his work in conflict resolution; he was created Baron Cheshire in 1991 in recognition of his charitable work. Leonard Cheshire was born in Chester, and was educated at the Dragon School, Oxford, Stowe School and Merton College, Oxford. Whilst at Oxford he became friends with John Niel Randle. On one occasion at Oxford he was bet half apint of beer that he could not walk to Paris with no more than a few pennies in his pocket; he won his bet.He went to stay in Germany in 1936 with a family in Potsdam and whilst there, witnessed an Adolf Hitler rally. Cheshire caused great offence by pointedly refusing to give the Nazi salute. Cheshire graduated in jurisprudence in 1939.

After learning basic piloting skills with the Oxford University Air Squadron, after the outbreak of the Second World War, Cheshire joined the RAF as a Pilot Officer. He was initially posted in June 1940 to 102 Squadron, flying Armstrong Whitworth Whitley medium bombers, from RAF Driffield. In November 1940, Cheshire was awarded the DSO for flying his badly damaged bomber back to base.In January 1941, Cheshire completed his tour of operations, but then volunteered immediately for a second tour. He was posted to 35 Squadron with the brand new Handley Page Halifax and completed his second tour early in 1942, by then, a Squadron Leader. August 1942 saw a return to operations as CO of No. 76 Squadron RAF. The squadron had recently suffered high losses operating the Halifax, and Cheshire immediately tackled the low morale of the unit by ordering an improvement in the performance of the squadron aircraft by removing the mid-upper and nose gun turrets along with exhaust covers and other weighty non-essential equipment. This allowed the bombers to fly higher and faster. Losses soon fell and morale rose accordingly.

Cheshire was amongst the first to note there was very low return rate of Halifax bombers on three engines; furthermore, there were reports the Halifax was unstable in a “corkscrew” which was the manoeuvre used by bomber pilots to escape night fighters. The test pilot Capt. Eric Brown DSC, flying uncrewed except for an accompanying flight engineer, undertook risky tests to establish the cause and were told a representative of Bomber Command would fly with them. Brown remembers “We couldn’t believe it, it was Cheshire! We were astonished to say the least. I asked him not to touch (the controls) and to his ever lasting credit he never commented at all, he just sat in the second pilot’s seat and raised his eye brows at what we were doing !” The fault was in the Halfax’s rudder design and Cheshire became enraged when Handley Page at first declined to make modifications so as not to disrupt production.During his time as the Commanding Officer of 76 Squadron at RAF Linton, Cheshire took the trouble to recognise and learn the name of every single man on the base. He was determined to increase the efficiency of his squadron and improve the chances of survival of its crews, to this end he constantly lectured crews on the skills needed to achieve those aims. The crews knew he was devoted to their interests and when, on an operation to Nuremberg, they were told to cross the French Coast at 2,000 ft (the most dangerous height for light flak). Cheshire simply refused, stating they would fly at 200 ft or 20,000 ft. Typically, Cheshire inspired such loyalty and respect that the ground crews of 76 Squadron were proud to chorus “We are Cheshire cats!”.

In 1943, Cheshire published an account of his first tour of operations in his book, Bomber Pilot which tells of his posting to RAF Driffield and the story of flying his badly damaged bomber (“N for Nuts”) back to base. In the book, Cheshire fails to mention being awarded theDSO for this, but does describe the bravery of a badly burnt member of his crew.Cheshire became Station Commander RAF Marston Moor in March 1943, as the youngest Group Captain in the RAF, although the job was never to his liking and he pushed for a return to an operational command. These efforts paid off with a posting as commander of the legendary 617 “Dambusters” Squadron in September 1943. While with 617, Cheshire helped pioneer a new method of marking enemy targets for Bomber Command’s 5 Group, flying in at a very low level in the face of strong defences, using first, the versatile de Havilland Mosquito, then a North American Mustang fighter.On the morning before a planned raid by 617 squadron to Siracourt, a crated Mustang turned up at Woodhall Spa, it was a gift for Cheshire from his admirers in the U.S. 8th Air Force. Cheshire had the aircraft assembled and the engine tested as he was determined to test the possibilities of the fighter as a marker aircraft. He took off, in what was his first flight in the aircraft, and caught up with 617′s Lancasters before they reached the target. Cheshire then proceeded to accurately mark the target (a V-1 storage depot) for the heavies which landed three Tallboys on it. He then flew back and landed the Mustang in the dark.

This development work in target marking was the subject of some severe intraservice politics; Cheshire was encouraged by his 5 Group Commander Air Vice-Marshal Ralph Cochrane, although the 8 Group Pathfinder AOC Air Vice-Marshal Don Bennett saw this work as impinging on the responsibilities of his own command.Cheshire was nearing the end of his fourth tour of duty in July 1944, having completed a total of 102 missions, when he was awarded the Victoria Cross. He was the only one of the 32 VC airmen to win the medal for an extended period of sustained courage and outstanding effort, rather than a single act of valour. His citation noted:In four years of fighting against the bitterest opposition he maintained a standard of outstanding personal achievement, his successful operations being the result of careful planning, brilliant execution and supreme contempt for danger – for example, on one occasion he flew his Mustang in slow ‘figures of eight’ above a target obscured by low cloud, to act as a bomb-aiming mark for his squadron. Cheshire displayed the courage and determination of an exceptional leader. Itlso noted a raid in which he had marked a target, flying a Mosquito at low level against “withering fire”.

When Cheshire went to Buckingham Palace to receive his VC from King George VI, he was accompanied by Norman Jackson who was also due to receive his award on that day. Cheshire insisted that despite the difference in rank (Group Captain and Warrant Officer), they should approach the King together. Jackson remembers that Cheshire said to the King, “This chap stuck his neck out more than I did – he should get his VC first!” The King had to keep to protocol, but Jackson commented he would “never forget what Cheshire said.” Cheshire was, in his day, both the youngest Group Captain in the service and, following his VC, the most decorated. In his book, Bomber Command (2010), Sir Max Hastings states “Cheshire was a legend in Bomber Command, a remarkable man with an almost mystical air about him, as if he somehow inhabited a different planet from those about him, but without affectation or pretension”. Cheshire would always fly on the most dangerous operations, he never took the easy option of just flying on the less risky ops to France, a habit which caused some COs to be referred to derisively as “François” by their men. Cheshire had no crew but would fly as “Second Dickey”, with the new and nervous to give them confidence.Cheshire had strong feelings on any crew displaying LMF (Lack of Moral Fibre, a euphemism for cowardice) when subject to the combat stress of Bomber Command’s sorties (many of which had loss rates of 5% or more). Even as a brilliant and sympathetic leader, he wrote “I was ruthless with LMF, I had to be. We were airmen not psychiatrists. Of course we had concern for any individual whose internal tensions meant that he could no longer go on but there was a worry that one really frightened man could affect others around him. There was no time to be as compassionate as I would like to have been.” Thus Cheshire transferred LMF cases out of his squadron almost instantaneously (like every other RAF squadron did at the time) This was also because he argued that a man who thought he was doomed would collapse or bail out when his aircraft was hit, whereas Cheshire thought if he could survive the initial shock of finding his aircraft damaged, he had more of a chance of survival.

On his 103rd mission, Cheshire was the official British observer of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki.His vantage point was in the support B-29 Big Stink. He did not witness the event as close up as anticipated due to aircraft commander James Hopkins’ failure to link up with the other B-29s. Hopkins was meant to join with the others over Yakushima, but he circled at 39,000 ft instead of the agreed height of 30,000 ft. He tried to justify this by the need to keep the VIP passengers out of danger, but Cheshire thought that Hopkins was “overwrought”.”Many assumed that it was Nagasaki which emptied him; as Cheshire kept pointing out, however, it was the war as a whole. Like Britain herself, he had been fighting or training for fighting since 1939

After the war, Cheshire lived with his wife Joan at the “VIP (for Vade in Pacem – Go in Peace) Colony” he established for veterans and war widows at Gumley Hall, Bedford Gardens – one of several new ventures he started after leaving the RAF in 1946. Joan followed him to Le Court, near Petersfield,Hampshire (a mansion which Cheshire had bought from his aunt) where, with three children of her own, Joan took charge of the nursery. Cheshire and Joan Botting subsequently investigated many religions, from Seventh Day Adventist to Methodist to “High Anglo-Catholic” – but none of them provided the answers they were looking for. Cheshire’s aim in establishing the VIP Colony was to provide an opportunity for ex-servicemen and women and their families to live together, each contributing to the community what they could, in order to help their transition back into civilian life. He hoped that training, prosperity and fulfillment would result from united effort and mutual support. He saw the community as one way of continuing to work towards world peace. The community, however, did not prosper and the project came to an end in 1947.Atthe beginning of 1948, Cheshire heard about the case of Arthur Dykes, who had been one of Cheshire’s original “VIP” community at Le Court, and was suffering from cancer. Dykes asked Cheshire to give him some land to park a caravan until he recovered, but Cheshire discovered that Dykes was terminally ill and that this diagnosis was concealed from him. He told Dykes the real position and invited him to stay at Le Court. Cheshire learned nursing skills and was soon approached to take in a second patient, the 94-year-old bedridden wife of a man who had just been taken off to hospital after suffering a stroke. She was followed by others, some coming to stay and others to help. Although Le Court had no financial support, and his situation was financially perilous most of the time, money somehow always seemed to arrive in the nick of time to stave off disaster.

Dykes died in August 1948. After completing the arrangements for his funeral, Cheshire idly picked up a book a friend had sent him. It was One Lord, One Faith by Vernon Johnson, a former High Anglican clergyman who, against every cherished instinct and prejudice, had converted to Roman Catholicism because, as he put it, “I could not resist the claim of the Catholic Church to be the one true Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ to guard and teach the truth. Joan Botting had converted to Jehovah’s Witnesses.On Christmas Eve, 1948, Cheshire was received into the Catholic Church. The next day, Joan Botting and her children, Mavis, Gary and Elizabeth, moved out of Le Court for good. At the beginning of 1949, eight patients were staying at Le Court.Six months later, there were 28. Cheshire dedicated the rest of his life to supporting disabled people, combining this with lecturing on conflict resolution.

In 1948, Cheshire founded the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, which provides support to disabled people throughout the world. It is now one of the top 30 British charities. Other organisations set up by Leonard Cheshire are:The Ryder-Cheshire Foundation,set up by Leonard Cheshire and his wife Sue Ryder at the time of their marriage in 1959. this deals with the rehabilitation of disabled people, through ENRYCH and the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis, through Target Tuberculosis. In 1953, Cheshire founded the Raphael Pilgrimage in order to enable sick and disabled people to travel to Lourdes.The Leonard Cheshire Disability & Inclusive Development Centre is a joint project by Leonard Cheshire Disability and University College London (originally set up in 1997 as the Leonard Cheshire Centre of Conflict Recovery).Cheshire founded the Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief, a UK charity in whose benefit the Roger Waters concert The Wall – Live in Berlinwas held. Cheshire opened this concert by blowing a Second World War whistle.Cheshire was also concerned about future remembrance and was influential in the concept of the National Memorial Arboretum, founded by David Childs. CHeshire sadly passed away 31 July 1992. However his legacy lives on And The amphitheatre at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas is dedicated to the memory of Leonard Cheshire.