His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

I would like to read His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet, an irresistible and mesmerizing thriller about the provisional nature of truth. It re-imagines the (supposedly) real-life memoir written by a 17-year-old boy named Roderick ‘Roddy’ Macrae who committed a triple homicide circa 1869 in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands.

The accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence. Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows. His Bloody Project was published by publishers Contraband and In September 2016, it was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize then In October 2016, His Bloody Project became the largest-selling book in the Booker shortlist.

Patrick Moore CBE FRS FRAS

Writer, Amateur Astronomer and Television personality Sir Patrick Moore CBE FRS FRAS, sadly passed away on 9th December 2012 aged 89. Born 4 March 1923, in Pinner, Middlesex, on March 4 1923, he was the son of Captain Charles Caldwell-Moore, MC. Later the family moved to Sussex, where Patrick was to live for the rest of his life. H e was educated at home owing to ill health, and wrote his first scientific paper at the age of 13 — his chosen subject was the features in a lunar crater he had seen through a small telescope. At the end of 1941 he joined the RAF to train for aircrew duties during World War II; however his fiancée was killed by a bomb during the war. during 1943 left for Canada for training as a navigator. He was commissioned in June 1944 and completed his training at a bomber conversion unit at Lossiemouth in northern Scotland but, due to epilepsy, was declared medically unfit for further flying duties and He left the Service in 1947.

From 1952 he was a freelance writer until One day in 1957 the BBC broadcast a somewhat sensationalist programme about flying saucers. Producers wanted a counterview by a “thoroughly reactionary and sceptical astronomer who knew some science and could talk”, consequently The Sky at Night was born, and it went on to become the world’s longest-running television series with the same original presenter & attracted millions of viewers. Moore’s Idiosyncrasies such as his rapid diction and monocle made him a popular and instantly recognisable figure on British television, where he became celebrated for the thunderous fervour with which he would utter the words: “We just don’t know!” to emphasise that our comprehension of the universe is incomplete. The secret of the program’s success lay not only in his tremendous learnedness but also in his gusto and humour & he soon attained a prominent status as a writer, researcher, radio commentator and television presenter and did more than anyone, with the possible exception of Arthur C Clarke, to educate the British public about astronomy and space travel.He would also happily appear on chat shows, quiz shows and comedy shows, among them The Goodies; Morecambe and Wise; Blankety Blank, and Have I Got News For You. He even starred in digitised form on the children’s video game show GamesMaster.moore was also a connoisseur of music, and sometimes played a xylophone on television. He also wrote the score for an opera about Theseus and the Minotaur. He was a keen sportsman too – particularly on the cricket pitch, where he proved a demon spin bowler. He also played golf and once at his local course set a club record – of 231, including a 43 on the third hole. Chess was another passion (he often carried with him a pocket chess set) and even dabbled in politics.

In 1982 he wrote a humorous but inflammatory book called Bureaucrats: How to Annoy Them. It advised that imposing a thin layer of candle grease on those parts of a form marked “for official use only” would prevent the recipient from writing anything and probably drive him mad. “Useful when dealing with the Inland Revenue,” said Moore.He was also A keen pipe smoker & was elected Pipeman of the Year in 1983. In addition to his many popular science books, he wrote numerous works of fiction. Moore was an opponent of fox hunting, an outspoken critic of the European Union and served as chairman of the short-lived anti-immigration United Country Party. After his fiancee was killed during World War II, he never married or had children.

Moore was also a former president of the British Astronomical Association, co-founder and former president of the Society for Popular Astronomy (SPA), author of over 70 books most of them about astronomy, As an amateur astronomer, he became known as a specialist on observing the Moon and creating the Caldwell catalogue. In 2002 Moore was appointed honorary vice-president of the Society for the History of Astronomy. He also won a Bafta for his services to television. He also continued to publish books to the end of his life. Recent titles include Patrick Moore on the Moon (2000, new edition 2006); The Data Book of Astronomy (2001); Patrick Moore: the autobiography (2005); Asteroid (with Arthur C Clarke, 2005); Stars of Destiny (2005); Ancient Lights (2008); and Can You Play Cricket on Mars? (2009). This year alone he published Astronomy with a Budget Telescope: An Introduction to Practical Observing; The Sky at Night: Answers to Questions from Across the Universe; Miaow!: Cats really are nicer than people!; and The New Astronomy Guide: Star Gazing in the Digital Age.He was appointed OBE in 1968, CBE in 1988 and knighted in 2001.In 1982 a minor planet was named after him by the International Astronomical Union. He also held the posts of president of the British Astronomical Association and director of the Armagh Planetarium in Northern Ireland. Yet the Royal Society refused to elect him as a Fellow — one of their number declared that he had committed the ultimate sin of “making science popular”. In 2001, however, he was elected to an honorary Fellowship.

International Anti-Corruption Day

International Anti-Corruption Day has been observed annually, on 9 December, since2003. It was set up after The United Nations Convention Against Corruption was passed on on 31 October 2003. It states, in part, that the UN is concerned about the seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of societies, undermining the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice and jeopardizing sustainable development and the rule of law.

This Convention aims to promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively and to promote, facilitate and support international cooperation, to offer technical assistance in the prevention of and fight against corruption and to promote integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs and public property…”

In additionThe “Your NO Counts” campaign is a joint international campaign which was created by the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to mark International Anti-Corruption Day (9 December) and to raise awareness about corruption and how to fight it. The 2009 joint international campaign focused on how corruption hinders efforts to achieve the internationally agreed upon MDGs (Millenuim Development Goals), undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to human rights violations, distorts markets, erodes quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish.

Neil Innes

English writer, comedian and musician Neil James Innes was born 9 December 1944 in Danbury Essex. He took piano lessons from age 7 to 14 and taught himself to play guitar. His parents were supportive of their sons’ interests. His father showed some artistic ability as well; he frequently drew and painted. Innes later attended Thorpe Grammar School and the Norwich School of Art. Because Norwich lacked a particular art curriculum in which he was interested, he transferred to Goldsmiths, where he studied drama. At Goldsmiths he met Yvonne Catherine Hilton, whom he married on 3 March 1966. They have three sons, Miles (b. 1967), Luke (b. 1971), and Barney (b. 1977). They have two grandchildren.

Innes graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art from Goldsmiths in 1966. He and several other art school students also started a band which was originally named The Bonzo Dog Dada Band after their interest in the art movement Dada, but which was soon renamed the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band (later shortened to The Bonzo Dog Band). Innes met Vivian Stanshall at the Central School of Art, where both studied drawing. Together they wrote most of the band’s songs, including “I’m the Urban Spaceman”, their sole hit (produced by Paul McCartney and Gus Dudgeon under the collective pseudonym Apollo C. Vermouth), and “Death Cab for Cutie” (which inspired an American musical group of the same name), which was featured in The Beatles’ film Magical Mystery Tour. Innes won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Novel(ty) Song in 1968 for “I’m the Urban Spaceman”. In the late 1960s, Innes appeared with the Bonzo Dog Band on both seasons of the UK children’s television series Do Not Adjust Your Set which also featured some future members of the Monty Python comedy team.

After the break-up of the Bonzo Dog Band, Innes joined with former Dog Band bassist Dennis Cowan, drummer Ian Wallace and guitarist Roger McKew to form The World, a band hoping for “more commercial” success with music ranging from rock to pure pop, yet still retaining some Doo-Dah flavour and even some of the humour. Unfortunately for them, by the time their sole album Lucky Planet was released in 1970, the members had already disbanded and were moving on to other projects. In 1973 Neil worked with Andy Roberts, Adrian Henri, Roger McGough, Mike McGear, Brian Patten, John Gorman, David Richards, John Megginson, Ollie Halsall, and Gerry Conway in the band GRIMMS, who released their self-titled album and Rocking Duck in 1973 followed by their last album Sleepers in 1976.

In the mid-1970s, Innes became closely associated with the TV series Monty Python’s Flying Circus. He played a major role in performing and writing songs and sketches for the final series in 1974 (after John Cleese left). He wrote a squib of a song called “George III” for the episode “The Golden Age of Ballooning”, which was sung by The Flirtations, but billed onscreen as the Ronettes. He also wrote the song “When Does a Dream Begin?”, used in “Anything Goes: The Light Entertainment War”. He co-wrote the “Most Awful Family in Britain” sketch and played a humorous stilted guitar version of the theme song, The Liberty Bell March, during the credits of the last episode, “Party Political Broadcast”. He is one of only two non-Pythons to ever be credited writers for the TV series, the other being Douglas Adams (who co-wrote the “Patient Abuse” sketch, also featured in “Party Political Broadcast”).

He appeared on stage with the Pythons in New York City in 1976, performing the Bob Dylanesque “Protest Song” (complete with harmonica) on the album Monty Python Live at City Center. He was introduced as Raymond Scum. After his introduction he told the audience, “I’ve suffered for my music. Now it’s your turn.” In 1980 he travelled to the States with the Pythons again, subsequently appearing in Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl. He performed the songs “How Sweet to Be an Idiot” and “I’m the Urban Spaceman”. He also appeared as one of the singing “Bruces” in the Philosopher Sketch and as a Church Policeman in that sketch. Innes wrote original songs for the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, such as “Knights of the Round Table” and “Brave Sir Robin”. He appeared in the film as a head-bashing monk, the serf crushed by the giant wooden rabbit, and the leader of Sir Robin’s minstrels. He also had a small role in Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky. His collaborations with Monty Python and other artists were documented in the musical film The Seventh Python (2008).

After Python finished its original run on UK television, Innes joined with Python’s Eric Idle on the series Rutland Weekend Television. This was a Python-esque sketch show based in a fictional low-budget regional television station. It ran for two series in 1975–76. Songs and sketches from the series appeared on a 1976 BBC LP, The Rutland Weekend Songbook. This show spawned The Rutles (the “prefab four”), an affectionate pastiche of The Beatles, in which Innes played the character of Ron Nasty, who was loosely based on John Lennon. Innes played Nasty in an American-made spin-off TV movie All You Need Is Cash, with Idle. The project also yielded the commercially successful soundtrack album The Rutles, released by Warner Bros..

The songs written by Innes so closely parodied the original source material that he was taken to court by the owners of The Beatles’ catalogue. Innes had to testify under oath that he had not listened to the songs at all while composing The Rutles’ songs, but had created them completely originally based on what he remembered various songs by The Beatles sounding like at different times. Ironically, Innes himself would go on to sue Beatles-influenced band Oasis over their 1994 song “Whatever”, as it directly lifted parts of its melody from Innes’s 1973 song “How Sweet to Be an Idiot”. This event was subsequently referenced in The Rutles song “Shangri-La” for their 1996 re-union album The Rutles released Archaeology, itself a parody of The Beatles Anthology. After Rutland Weekend Television, Idle moved to the United States, and Innes went on to make a solo series in 1979 on BBC television, The Innes Book of Records, which ran for three seasons and contained a few of Innes’ previous music compositions along with new ones written for the show.

In the 1980s, Innes played the role of the Magician in the live-action children’s television series Puddle Lane, made by Yorkshire Television for the ITV network and voiced the 1980s children’s cartoon adventures of The Raggy Dolls, a motley collection of “rejects” from a toy factory. The 65 episodes for Yorkshire Television included the characters Sad Sack, Hi-Fi, Lucy, Dotty, Back-to-Front, Princess and Claude. He also composed the music for children’s television including Puddle Lane, The Raggy Dolls, The Riddlers and Tumbledown Farm. In addition. He also adapted Monty Python’s Terry Jones’s fairy-tale book East of the Moon for television. He contributed all the stories and music on this production. He was involved with the enormously popular children’s show Tiswas,

The Rutles also released a new album in 1996 entitled Archaeology. In 1998, Innes hosted a 13-episode television series for ITV Anglia, called Away with Words, and took part, along with the remaining Monty Python members, in the 2002 Concert for George, in memory of George Harrison. Innes was occasionally heard (often as the butt of jokes) standing in as the pianist for the BBC Radio 4 panel game I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. Then In 2006 Innes toured the UK and produced a new Bonzo CD as part of the Bonzo Dog Band’s 40th Anniversary tour. In 2008 he undertook the Neil Innes and Fatso 30th Anniversary tour. In 2008 A film about Neil Innes called The Seventh Python premiered at the Mods & Rockers. Film Festival and He also occasionally guests on keyboards for the Comedy Store Players at the London Comedy Store. Innes formed ‘The Idiot Bastard Band’ a comedy musical collective featuring himself, Adrian Edmondson, Phill Jupitus, Simon Brint and Rowland Rivron. In 2011 Jupitus was unable to attend and was replaced by several special guests, including Paul Whitehouse and Nigel Planer. Following the death of Simon, the band performed a further tour in 2012.

Junior Wells

American Chicago blues vocalist, harmonica player, and recording artist Junior Wells was born December 9, 1934 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was raised in West Memphis, Arkansas (although some sources report that he was born in West Memphis). He was Initially taught by his cousin, Junior Parker, and by Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Wells learned to play the harmonica expertly by the age of seven.

He moved to Chicago in 1948 with his mother, after her divorce, and began sitting in with local musicians at house parties and taverns. Wild and rebellious but needing an outlet for his talents, he began performing with the Aces (guitarist brothers Dave and Louis Myers and drummer Fred Below) and developed a modern amplified harmonica style influenced by Little Walter. In 1952, he made his first recordings, when he replaced Little Walter in Muddy Waters’s band and played on one of Muddy’s sessions for Chess Records in 1952. His first recordings as a bandleader were made in the following year for States Records.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he recorded singles for Chief Records and its subsidiary, Profile Records, including “Messin’ with the Kid”, “Come on in This House”, and “It Hurts Me Too”, which would remain in his repertoire throughout his career. His 1960 Profile single “Little by Little” (written by Chief owner and producer Mel London) reached number 23 on the Billboard R&B chart, the first of his two singles to enter the chart. Wells’s album Hoodoo Man Blues, was released in 1965 and, featured Buddy Guy on guitar and They also worked with the Rolling Stones on several occasions in the 1970s. Wells’s album South Side Blues Jam was released in 1971 and On Tap in 1975. His 1996 release Come on in This House includes performances by the slide guitarists Alvin Youngblood Hart and Derek Trucks, among others. He ris best known for his performances and recordings with Muddy Waters, Earl Hooker, and Buddy Guy. He also performed with Bonnie Raitt, the Rolling Stones, and Van Morrison. He also recorded with Muddy Waters, Earl Hooker, and Buddy Guy. He also performed with Bonnie Raitt, the Rolling Stones, and Van Morrison and appeared in the film Blues Brothers 2000.

Wells told the following story, printed on the cover of Hoodoo Man Blues: “I went to this pawnshop downtown and the man had a harmonica prices at $2.00. I got a job on a soda truck… played hookey from school … worked all week and on Saturday the man gave me a dollar and a half. A dollar and a half! For a whole week of work. I went to the pawnshop and the man said the price was two dollars. I told him I had to have that harp. He walked away from the counter – left the harp there. So I laid my dollar-and-a-half on the counter and picked up the harp. When my trial came up, the judge asked me why I did it. I told him I had to have that harp. The judge asked me to play it and when I did he gave the man the 50 cents and hollered “Case dismissed!”

Sadly though, in the late 1990’s Wells began to have severe health problems, including cancer and a heart attack and He tragically died in Chicago on January 15, 1998, and was interred in the Oak Woods Cemetery, Chicago.

Joanna Trollope

TrollopeProlific British writer Joanna Trollope OBE was born 9 December 1943. Joanna Trollope was educated at Reigate County School for Girls followed by St Hugh’s College, Oxford. From 1965 to 1967, she worked at the Foreign Office and from 1967 to 1979, she was employed in a number of teaching posts before she became a writer full-time in 1980. She began writing when she was first pregnant, while working as a teacher. For years, she combined both careers, writing in the evenings “to fill the spaces after the children had gone to bed”.She has written eighteen bestselling novels, whose common theme is the nature of modern relationships, especially within families. She writes about tense family relationships with intelligence and clear-eyed sympathy, with a brilliant eye for detail and a finely tuned emotional intelligence and her evocations of human relationships is penetrating and engaging.

Trollope’s books are generally upmarket family dramas and romances, that somewhat transcend these genres via striking realism in terms of human psychology and relationships. Some of her best known novels include the Piano Man, The Austen Project, the Rectors Wife, Eliza Stanhope, Parson Harding’s Daughter, Leaves from the Valley, The City of Gems, The Steps of the Sun, The Taverner’s Place, The Choir, A Village Affair, A Passionate Man, The Rector’s Wife, The Men and the Girls, A Spanish Lover, The Best of Friends, Next of Kin, Other People’s Children, Marrying the Mistress, Girl from the South, Brother and Sister, Second Honeymoon, Friday Nights, The Other Family, Daughters-in-Law, The Soldier’s Wife and Balancing Act. Several of her novels have also been adapted for television including The Rector’s Wife.

In 2008, she wrote a letter in support of J. K. Rowling’s copyright infringement case in America. In 2009, she donated the short story The Piano Man to Oxfam’s ‘Ox-Tales’ project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Trollope’s story was published in the ‘Water’ collection. Joanna has written the first novel in Harper Collins updating of the Jane Austen canon, The Austen Project. Her 2013 version of “Sense and Sensibility” was published in October. Her own family is extremely important to her. She is the eldest of three, has two daughters, two stepsons and nine grandchildren. Joanna was appointed OBE for services to literature in 1996.

John Milton

MPLBest known for the epic poems “Paradise Lost” and “Paradise Regained”, the English poet & polemicist, John Milton was born on Bread Street, London, on 9th December 1608. He was a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, Milton’s poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self-determination, and the urgent issues and political turbulence of his day. Writing in English, Latin, and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime, and his celebrated Areopagitica, (written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship) is among history’s most influential and impassioned defenses of free speech and freedom of the press.

During Milton’s life their were many major historical and political divisions in Stuart Britain. Under the increasingly personal rule of Charles I and its breakdown in constitutional confusion and war, Milton studied, travelled, wrote poetry mostly for private circulation, and launched a career as pamphleteer and publicist. Under the Commonwealth of England, the shift in accepted attitudes in government placed him in public office, and he even acted as an official spokesman in certain of his publications. Milton’s views developed from his very extensive reading, as well as travel and experience, from his student days of the 1620s to the English Revolution. Very early on, though, he was championed by Whigs, and decried by Tories: with the regicide Edmund Ludlow he was claimed as an early Whig, while the High Tory Anglican minister Luke Milbourne lumped Milton in with other “Agents of Darkness” such as John Knox, George Buchanan, Richard Baxter, Algernon Sidney and John Locke.

The Restoration of 1660 deprived Milton, of his public platform, but this period saw him complete most of his major works of poetry.including Paradise Lost, and once this was published, Milton’s stature as epic poet was immediately recognised. He cast a formidable shadow over English poetry in the 18th and 19th centuries; he was often judged equal or superior to all other English poets, including Shakespeare. By the time of his death in 1674, Milton was impoverished and on the margins of English intellectual life, yet famous throughout Europe and unrepentant for his political choices.William Hayley’s 1796 biography called him the “greatest English author”, and he remains generally regarded “as one of the preeminent writers in the English language”; though critical reception has oscillated in the centuries since his death (often on account of his republicanism). Samuel Johnson praised Paradise Lost as “a poem which…with respect to design may claim the first place, and with respect to performance, the second, among the productions of the human mind,” though Johnson (a Tory and recipient of royal patronage) described Milton’s politics as those of an “acrimonious and surly republican”. Milton sadly passed away 8 November 1674 (aged 65) Bunhill, London, England and is buried in St Giles-without-Cripplegate.

PARADISE LOST

Milton’s epic poem is separated into twelve “books” or sections, and the length of each book varies greatly (the longest being Book IX, with 1,189 lines, and the shortest Book VII, having 640). The Arguments at the head of each book were added in subsequent imprints of the first edition. Originally published in ten books, in 1674 a fully “Revised and Augmented” edition with a new division into twelve books was issued. This is the edition that is generally used today.The poem follows the epic tradition of starting in medias res (Latin for in the midst of things), the background story being recounted later.Milton’s story has two narrative arcs: one being that of Satan (Lucifer) and the other being that of Adam and Eve. It begins after Satan and the other rebel angels have been defeated and banished to Hell, or (as it is also called in the poem), Tartarus. In Pandæmonium, Satan employs his rhetorical skill to organise his followers; he is aided by Mammon and Beelzebub. Belial and Moloch are also present. At the end of the debate, Satan volunteers to poison the newly-created Earth and God’s new and most favoured creation, Mankind.

He braves the dangers of the Abyss alone in a manner reminiscent of Odysseus or Aeneas. After an arduous traverse of the Chaos outside Hell, he enters God’s new material World, and later the Garden of Eden.At one point in the story, an Angelic War over Heaven is recounted. Satan’s rebellion follows the epic convention of large-scale warfare. The battles between the faithful angels and Satan’s forces take place over three days. The final battle involves the Son of God single-handedly defeating the entire legion of angelic rebels and banishing them from Heaven. Following the purging of Heaven, God creates the World, culminating in his creation of Adam and Eve. While God gave Adam and Eve total freedom and power to rule over all creation, He gave them one explicit command: not to eat from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil on penalty of death.

The story of Adam and Eve’s temptation and fall is a fundamentally different, new kind of epic: a domestic one. Adam and Eve are presented for the first time in Christian literature as having a full relationship while still being without sin. They have passions and distinct personalities. Satan, disguised in the form of a serpent, successfully tempts Eve to eat from the Tree by preying on her vanity and tricking her with rhetoric. Adam, learning that Eve has sinned, knowingly commits the same sin. He declares to Eve that since she was made from his flesh, they are bound to one another so that if she dies, he must also die. In this manner, Milton portrays Adam as a heroic figure, but also as a greater sinner than Eve, as he is aware that what he is doing is wrong.

A fter eating the fruit, Adam and Eve have lustful sex, and at first, Adam is convinced that Eve was right in thinking that eating the fruit would be beneficial. However, they soon fall asleep and have terrible nightmares, and after they awake, they experience guilt and shame for the first time. Realizing that they have committed a terrible act against God, they engage in mutual recrimination. Eve’s pleas to Adam reconcile them somewhat. Her encouragement enables Adam and Eve both to approach God, to “bow and sue for grace with suppliant knee”, and to receive grace from God. Adam and Eve are cast out of Eden, and Michael says that Adam may find “a paradise within thee, happier far”.