2001 A Space Odyssey

I have recently rewatched the epic 1968 science-fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film was produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, partially inspired by Clarke’s short story “The Sentinel” and the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film deals with the themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life and also featurs some fantastic classical music including The Blue Danube by Strauss and Also Sprach Zarathustra.

It starts In an African desert millions of years ago, where a tribe of ape-men is driven away from their water hole by a stronger more aggresive rival tribe. They wake up to find a featureless black monolith before them. Guided by the monolith, they learn how to use a bone as a weapon and a tool, and use it to hunt for food, and they eventually fight back and drive their rivals away from the water hole.

Millions of years later, a Pan Am space plane is carrying Dr. Heywood Floyd to a space station orbiting Earth for a layover on his trip to Clavius Base, a United States outpost on the moon. his Soviet scientist friend and her colleague (Leonard Rossiter) ask about rumours of a mysterious epidemic at Clavius. At Clavius, Floyd discovers that the epidemic is a cover story for something far stranger. He is summoned to a secret meeting of base personnel, and learns that His mission is to investigate a recently found artifact buried four million years ago. Floyd and others discover a monolith identical to the one encountered by the ape-men. Which then sends out a signal.

Eighteen months later, mission pilots and scientists Dr. David Bowman (Kier Dullea) and Dr. Frank Poole, along with three other scientists in cryogenic hibernation are traveling to Jupiter aboard the United States spacecraft Discovery One. Most of Discovery’s operations are controlled by the ship’s computer, HAL 9000, Hal states that he is completely foolproof. However Hal seems reluctant to inform them of the purpose of the mission. After a technical glitch Mission Control advises the astronauts that Hal may have started malfunctioning. Hal insists that the problem is due to human error.

After Becoming Concerned about Hal 9000’s increasingly erratic behavior, Bowman and Poole decide to disconnect it. However before they can act HAL9000 takes control of the ship and kills Poole while he is on a space walk outside. Then While Bowman attempts to rescue Poole Hal turns off the life support functions of all the other crewmen in suspended animation killing them also. After rescuing Poole, Hal 9000 refuses to let Bowman back in, stating that by disconnecting HAL he is jeopardizing the mission. So Bowman is forced to take drastic measures to gain entrance. So he opens the ship’s emergency airlock manually, enters the ship, and attempts to deactivate HAL. Bowman encounters another monolith in orbit around the planet. After Going through Jupiter’s bizarre atmosphere and landing on the surface he finds himself in a Baroque style bedroom and starts aging alarmingly. In the bedroom he encounters another monolith and evolves further into the mysterious Star Child.

Junior Braithwaite (Bob Marley and the Wailers)

MarleyReggae musician Franklin Delano Alexander Braithwaite, better known as Junior Braithwaite, was born April 1949 in Kingston, Jamaica. He was the youngest member of the vocal group, The Wailing Wailers which Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh started in 1963, when ska music had become popular in Jamaica. Soon after Beverly Kelso and Cherry Smith joined the group as backing vocalists.

Braithwaite was with The Wailers for eight months and sang lead on such songs as “Habits”, “Straight and Narrow Way”, “Don’t Ever Leave Me”, and “It Hurts To Be Alone”. He had the best voice in The Wailers, according to Studio One’s Coxsone Dodd, who discovered the band’s talent. Bob Marley later commented: “Junior used to sing high. It’s just nowadays that I’m beginning to realize that he sounded like one of the Jackson Five. When he left we had to look for a sound that Bunny, Peter and me could manage.”

Braithwaite left the band in 1964 and moved to the United States with hopes of pursuing a medical career. He lived primarily in Chicago and southern Wisconsin for the next 20 years, and returned to Jamaica in 1984 to work with Bunny Wailer on a Wailers’ reunion project. With the assassination of Peter Tosh in September 1987, plans for world tours with a reunited Wailers never materialized. Sadly Braithwaite was murdered on 2 June 1999 in the home of a fellow musician in Kingston.

Pick Withers (Dire Straits)

Pick Withers, the drummer with Dire Straits and Magna Carter was born 4 April 1948. Formed in 1977 by Brothers Mark (lead vocals and lead guitar)and David Knopfler (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), and friends John Illsley (bass guitar and backing vocals, and Pick Withers (drums and percussion), they recorded a five-song demo tape which included their future hit single, “Sultans of Swing”, as well as “Water of Love”, “Down to the Waterline”, “Wild West End” and David Knopfler’s “Sacred Loving”.

The group’s first album, was intitled Dire Straits the album had little promotion when initially released in the United Kingdom However, the album came to the attention of A&R representative Karin Berg, working at Warner Bros. Records in New York City. She felt that it was the kind of music audiences were hungry for, That same year, Dire Straits began a tour as opening band for the Talking Heads after the re-released “Sultans of Swing” which scaled the charts to number four in the United States and number eight in the United Kingdom. The song was one of Dire Straits’ biggest hits and became a fixture in the band’s live performances. “ Recording sessions for the group’s second album, Communiqué, took place in December 1978, Released in June 1979 Communiqué Featured the single “Lady Writer”, the second album continued in a similar vein as the first and displayed the expanding scope of Knopfler’s lyricism on the opening track, “Once Upon a Time in the West”. In 1980, Dire Straits were nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Sultans Of Swing.

In July 1980 the band started recording tracks for their third album. Making Movies which featured longer songs with more complex arrangements, a style which would continue for the rest of the band’s career. The album featured many of Mark Knopfler’s most personal compositions. The most successful chart single was “Romeo and Juliet” and was released in October 1980. Dire Straits’ fourth studio album Love Over Gold, an album of songs filled with lengthy, experimental passages, was well received when it was released in September 1982, going gold in America and spending four weeks at number one in the United Kingdom, its main chart hit, “Private Investigations”, gave Dire Straits their first top 5 hit single in the United Kingdom, where it reached the number 2 position despite its almost seven-minute length, and became another of the band’s most popular live songs. along with “Industrial Disease”, a song that looks at the decline of the British manufacturing industry in the early 1980s. In 1983, a four-song EP titled ExtendedancEPlay was released while Love Over Gold was still in the album charts. It featured the hit single “Twisting By the Pool”. Dire Straits also embarked on a world tour. wgich resulted in The double album Alchemy Live, a recording of two live concerts of the group at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in July 1983, was released in March 1984.

Dire Straits returned to the recording studios at the end of 1984 to record their biggest selling album to date, Brothers in Arms, which has so far sold over 30 million copies and contains the songs “Money for Nothing”, “Walk of Life”, “So Far Away”, “Your Latest Trick” and “Brothers in Arms”. Released in May 1985, Brothers In Arms entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1 and spent a total of 228 weeks in the charts, It went on to become the best-selling album of 1985 in the UK, “Money for Nothing” was also the first video ever to be played on MTV in Britain and featured guest vocals by Sting, who is credited with co-writing the song with Mark Knopfler, although in fact, it was just the inclusion of the melody line from “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”.Brothers in Arms was among the first albums recorded on digital equipment due to Knopfler pushing for improved sound quality The album’s title track is reported to be the world’s first CD single. The album is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first compact disc to sell a million copies, and has been credited with helping to popularise the CD forma

Their sound drew from a variety of musical influences, including jazz, folk, blues, and came closest to beat music within the context of rock and roll. Despite the prominence of punk rock during the band’s early years, the band’s stripped-down sound contrasted with punk, demonstrating a more “rootsy” influence that emerged out of pub rock. Many of Dire Straits’ compositions were melancholic and they have gone on to became one of the world’s most commercially successful bands, with worldwide album sales of over 120 million. making them One of the world’s best selling music artists, and their fifth album, Brothers in Arms, has won many accolades. In November 2009, Dire Straits were honoured by the new PRS for Music Heritage Award. A special blue plaque was erected at Farrer House, Church Street, Deptford in south London, where the original group, Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers once shared a council flat and performed their first ever gig in 1977. PRS for Music has set up the Heritage Award to recognise the unusual “performance birthplaces” of famous bands and artists. Dire Straits have also won numerous music awards during their career, including four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards—winning Best British Group twice, and two MTV Video Music Awards. The band’ most popular songs include “Sultans of Swing”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Tunnel of Love”, “Private Investigations” .Dire Straits’ career spanned 18 years. Mark Knopfler and John Illsley were the only two original bandmates who remained until Dire Straits disbanded in 1995, since then Withers has been the drummer and percussionist for Magna Carter.

Dave Hill (Slade)

Dave Hill, the guitarist with Glam rock band Slade was born 4 April 1946 I nHolbeton, Devon, the son of a mechanic, he moved with his parents to Penn, Wolverhampton when he was a year old. There he attended Springdale Junior school and Highfields Secondary school. He bought his first guitar from a mail order catalogue and received some guitar lessons from a science teacher at his school. He then formed a band called The Young Ones with some school friends. He worked in an office for Tarmac Limited for over two years after leaving school.

He originally played with drummer Don Powell in a band called The Vendors, whose name was then changed to The N’ Betweens. The pair then met bass guitarist / keyboard player / violinist / guitarist Jim Lea who got in at an audition. Drummer Don Powell then spotted Noddy Holder playing with Steve Brett & The Mavericks and he and Hill got Holder to join the N’Betweens. They regrouped as Ambrose Slade, and changed the name to Slade.

Slade rose to prominence during the glam rock era of the early 1970s with 17 consecutive top 20 hits and six number ones. The British Hit Singles & Albums names them as the most successful British group of the 1970s based on sales of singles. They were the first act to achieve three singlesenter at number one; all six of the band’s chart-toppers were penned by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea. Total UK sales stand at 6,520,171, and their best selling single, “Merry Xmas Everybody”, has sold in excess of one million copies. Following an unsuccessful move to the United States in 1975, Slade’s popularity waned but was unexpectedly revived in 1980 when they were last minute replacements for Ozzy Osbourne at the Reading Rock Festival. The band later acknowledged this to have been one of the highlights of their career. Though Hill is left-handed, he played and still plays guitar right-handed. Hill’s best known guitar was the “John Birch Superyob” that was built in 1973. The guitar was used by Madness guitarist Chris Foreman in the video for Madness’ song “Shut Up” and is now owned by Marco Pirroni of Adam and the Ants. He is known for his flamboyant costumes.

The original line up split in 1992 but the band reformed the following year as Slade II. The band has continued, with a number of line-up changes, to the present day. They have now shortened the group name back to Slade. A number of diverse artists have cited Slade as an influence, including grunge icons Nirvan and the Smashing Pumpkins, punk pioneers the Ramones, Sex Pistols, the Undertones, the Runaways and the Clash, glam followers Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Twisted Sister,Quiet Riot, Poison and Def Leppard, pop-rock stalwarts the Replacements, Cheap Trick and Oasis. Over the years Slade have become known for Holder’s powerful vocals, guitarist Dave Hill’s equally arresting dress sense and the deliberate misspelling of their song titles. Their song Merry Christmas is also repeated annually during every Christmas Season.

Gary Moore

Northern Irish singer,songwriter and guitar virtuoso Gary Moore was born 4 April 1952. Moore grew up on Castleview Road opposite Stormont Parliament Buildings, off the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast. He left the city as a teenager, because of troubles in his family – his parents parted a year later – just as The Troubles were starting in Northern Ireland. Moore started performing at a young age, having picked up a battered acoustic guitar at the age of eight. He got his first quality guitar at the age of 14, learning to play the right-handed instrument in the standard way despite being left-handed.

Aiming to become a musician, he moved to Dublin at the age of 16. Moore’s greatest influence in the early days was guitarist Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac who was a mentor to Moore when performing in Dublin. Green’s continued influence on Moore was later repaid as a tribute to Green on his 1995 album Blues for Greeny, an album consisting entirely of Green compositions. On this tribute album, Moore played Green’s 1959 Les Paul Standard guitar which Green had lent to Moore after leaving Fleetwood Mac. Moore ultimately purchased the guitar, at Green’s request, so that “it would have a good home” . Other early musical influences were artists such as Albert King, Elvis Presley, The Shadows, and The Beatles. Later, having seen Jimi Hendrix and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in his home town of Belfast, his own style was developing into a blues-rock sound that would be the dominant form of his career in music. Moore went on to share the stage with such blues and rock musicians as B.B. King, Albert King, Jack Bruce, Albert Collins, George Harrison, and Greg Lake, as well as having a successful solo career. He guested on a number of albums recorded by high-profile musicians.

In Dublin, Moore joined the group Skid Row with Noel Bridgeman and Brendan “Brush” Shiels. In 1970, Moore moved to England and remained there, apart from two short periods in the United States. In 1973, under the name “The Gary Moore Band”, he released his first solo album, Grinding Stone and received “Album of the Year” accolades on KTAC-FM/Seattle-Tacoma, Washington, in 1974. In 1974 he re-joined Phill Lynott, when he first joined Thin Lizzy after the departure of founding member Eric Bell. From 1975 to August 1978, he was a member of Colosseum II. With the band he also collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber on the composer’s Variations album in 1978 and In 1977, Moore re-joined Thin Lizzy, replacing Brian Robertson. In July 1979, he left the band permanently to focus on his solo career, again with help from Phil Lynott. The combination of Moore’s blues-based guitar and Lynott’s voice produced “Parisienne Walkways and the Thin Lizzy album Black Rose: A Rock Legend. Moore also appears in the videos for “Waiting for an Alibi” and “Do Anything You Want To”. He experimented with many musical genres, including rock, jazz, blues, country, electric blues, hard rock, and heavy metal. In 1987, he performed a guitar solo for a cover of the Beatles’ “Let It Be” for Ferry Aid which raised money for the survivors of the MS Herald of Free Enterprise disaster. In 1990, he also played the lead guitar solo on “She’s My Baby” from Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.

Moore returned to blues music with Still Got the Blues (1990), with contributions from Albert King, Albert Collins, and George Harrison. In 1997 he released the albumDark Days in Paradise followed by the album A Different Beat in 1999, He also contributed guitar sections to Richard Blackwood’s 2000 album, You’ll Love to Hate This. In 2001 he released Back to the Blues, this was followed byPower of the Blues (2004), Old New Ballads Blues (2006), Close As You Get (2007), and Bad For You Baby (2008).In January 2005, Moore joined the One World Project, which recorded a song Entitled Grief Never Grow Old,for the 2004 Asian Tsunami relief effort. The group featured Russell Watson, Boy George, Steve Winwood, Barry Gibb, Brian Wilson, Cliff Richard, Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley, and Robin Gibb on vocals (in their order of appearance), and featured a guitar solo by Moore. He also took part in a comedy skit entitled “The Easy Guitar Book Sketch” with comedian Rowland Rivron and fellow musicians Mark Knopfler, Lemmy from Motörhead, Mark King from Level 42, and David Gilmour. He collaborated with a broad range of artists including Trilok Gurtu, Dr. Strangely Strange, Jimmy Nail, Mo Foster, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Jim Capaldi, B.B. King, Vicki Brown, Cozy Powell, Rod Argent, the Beach Boys, Paul Rodgers, Keith Emerson, Roger Daltrey, and Otis Redding. Sadly on 6 February 2011 Gary Moore died of a heart attack in his sleep at the age of 58 While on holiday at the Kempinski Hotel in Estepona, Spain and was laid to rest in St Margaret’s Churchyard, Rottingdean, East Sussex, England, in a private ceremony, with only the family and close friends in attendance.

Throughout his career, Moore was recognised as an influence by many notable guitarists including Martin Barre, Vivian Campbell, Patrick Rondat, John Norum, Paul Gilbert, Gus G, Slash, Orianthi, Joe Bonamassa, Adrian Smith, Doug Aldrich, Zakk Wylde, Randy Rhoads, John Sykes, Gary W Suede, and Kirk Hammett. many fellow musicians have also commented on Gary Moore’s talents including Ozzy Osbourne, Kirk Hammett, Eric Singer,Doug Aldrich, Tony Iommi, Bob Geldof, Roger Taylor, Brian May, Brian Downey,Andy DiGelsomina,Ricky Warwick, Glenn Hughes, Bryan Adams, Henry Rollins, Scott Gorham,Ignacio Garay, and Mikael Åkerfeldt. In 2011, a number of musicians including Eric Bell and Brian Downey, Thunder rising, Silverbird and The Business blues band gathered for a tribute concert in Whelan’s bar in Dublin, Ireland titled ‘The Gig For Gary’ and A large statue of Moore was erected on a small island outside Skånevik, following his many performances at the Skånevik Blues Festival.

Trapped in Space

I have recently watched the claustrophobic science-fiction thriller Trapped in Space. It is adapted from the short story “Breaking Strain” by science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke. It features crew members aboard the Venus-bound freighter Venture who are thrown into deadly peril after a meteorite strikes and damages the oxygen tank aboard the ship, diminishing the supply of oxygen to the point that there is not enough oxygen left to sustain the entire crew.

Matters are made worse when the devious captain decides to save himself, after after radioing and informing monitoring officials that the Venture’s entire crew is dead, he gets into the Venture’s only emergency shuttle and takes off to safety. Still very much alive, the remaining crew members are faced with an unenviable situation of having to ration out the Oxygen and face the prospect of some of the crew running out of oxygen so that others may live and get back safely.