James Herbert

English Horror writer James John Herbert, OBE was born 8 April 1943 in London He attended a Catholic school in Bethnal Green called Our Lady of the Assumption, then aged 11 won a scholarship to St Aloysius Grammar School in Highgate. He left school at 15 and studied at Hornsey College of Art, joining the art department of John Collings, a small advertising agency.He left the agency to join Charles Barker Advertising where he worked as art director and then group head.Herbert lived in Woodmancote, near Henfield in West Sussex. He had two brothers: Peter, a retired market trader and John, an insurance broker.

His first two books, The Rats and The Fog, were disaster novels with man-eating giant black rats in the first and an accidentally released chemical weapon in the second. The first print run of The Rats (100,000 copies) sold out in three weeks. Herbert wrote three sequels to The Rats; Lair which deals with a second outbreak of the mutants, this time in the countryside around Epping Forest rather than in the first book’s London slums; in Domain, a nuclear war means that the rats have become the dominant species in a devastated city. The third sequel, the graphic novel The City, is an adventure set in the post-nuclear future. Unfortunately In 1979 Herbert had to pay damages when it was ruled that he had based part of his novel The Spear on the work of another writer, The Spear of Destiny by Trevor Ravenscroft.

With his third novel, the ghost story The Survivor, Herbert used supernatural horror rather than the science fiction horror of his first two books. In Shrine, he explored his Roman Catholic heritage with the story of an apparent miracle which turns out to be something much more sinister. Haunted, the story of a sceptical paranormal investigator taunted by malicious ghosts, began life as a screenplay for the BBC, though this was not the screenplay used in the eventual film version. Its sequels were The Ghosts of Sleath and Ash. Others of Herbert’s books, such as Moon, Sepulchre and Portent, are structured as thrillers and include espionage and detective story elements along with the supernatural. The Jonah is in large part the story of a police investigation, albeit by a policeman whose life is overshadowed by a supernatural presence.

His novel The Spear deals with a neo-Nazi cult in Britain and an international conspiracy which includes a right-wing US general and an arms dealer. The novel ’48 is an alternative history novel set in 1948 in which the Second World War ended with the release of a devastating plague by the defeated Hitler and, like The Spear, features British characters who sympathise with the Nazis. Others narrates the story of a physically deformed private detective. Herbert had previously tackled the theme of reincarnation in his fourth novel, Fluke, the story of a dog who somehow remembers his previous life as a human being. Rumbo, one of the characters from Fluke also turns up in The Magic Cottage. Once… includes another reference to the character of Rumbo (along with an in-joke of elven folk having names of reversed titles of Herbert’s previous novels; ‘Hanoj’, ‘Niamod’, ‘Noom’ etc.).

Nobody True continues the theme of life after death, being narrated by a ghost whose investigation of his own death results in the destruction of his illusions about his life. Herbert described Creed as his Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. The character Joe Creed is a cynical, sleazy paparazzo who is drawn into a plot involving fed-up and underappreciated monsters. The novel The Secret of Crickley Hall, is about a haunted country house in England, it examined the relationship between religious zealotry and child abuse. One of the characters in this novel is named after a real person, who won the honour by having the winning bid in the 2004 BBC Radio 2 Children in Need Auction. Herbert released a new novel virtually every year from 1974 to 1988, he wrote six novels during the 1990s and released three new works in the 2000s. Herbert’s final novel has an eerie political edge. ‘Ash’, imagines Princess Diana and her secret son as well as Lord Lucan, Colonel Gaddafi and Robert Maxwell living together in a Scottish castle.

Various biographical and critical pieces by and about Herbert have also been collected in James Herbert: By Horror Haunted, edited by Stephen Jones, and also in James Herbert – Devil in the Dark, written by Craig Cabell. So far His books have sold 54 million copies worldwide, and have been translated into 34 languages, including Chinese and Russian. In 2010 Herbert was honoured with the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award, presented to him by Stephen Kink and was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours, presented by Prince Charles. Sadly though On 20 March 2013, Herbert died at his home in Sussex at the age of 69. He is survived by his wife, Eileen, and three daughters.

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Arrival (Story of your Life)

I have recently watched The Science Fiction film Arrival again. It is based on the short Science Fiction story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang which was first published in Starlight 2 in 1998 and won the 2000 Nebula Award for Best Novella, as well as the 1999 Theodore Sturgeon Award. It was adapted for film by Eric Heisserer, and Directed by Denis Villeneuve. The film stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture; it won the award for Best Sound Editing.

It concerns A race of aliens, known as heptapods (due to their 7-pointed radially symmetrical appearance), who arrive on Earth in 12 locations and make contact with humanity. So the military hires Doctor Louise Banks and Physicist Dr. Gary Donnelly, to learn all about them, discover their language, gain knowledge of physics and communicate with the aliens. They discover that The heptapods have two distinct forms of language. Their spoken language is Heptapod A, which is described as having free word order and many levels of center-embedded clauses. They also use a very complex written language called Heptapod B which Unlike its spoken counterpart has such complex structure that a single semantic symbol cannot be excluded without changing the entire meaning of a sentence and it requires an understanding of mathematics and Fermat’s principle of least time. When writing in Heptapod B, the writer must already know how the sentence will end. Gradually Doctor Louise Banks and Dr Donnelly learn how the Heptapods language works and start communicating with them.

Unfortunately matters are complicated when Frenzied sensationalised media reports start being written by the Newspapers about the End of the World and destruction of humanity, which start scaring the public who start panicking. Matters are then made worse when military personnel in China and Russia get aggressive and decide that military action is required. So it is up to Banks and Donnelly to stop China and Russia before they start a war with the aliens.

Pablo Picasso

Sleeping Peasants

Widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, the Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer Pablo Picasso sadly passed away 8 April 1973. Born 25 October 1881 he was Baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad, And showed a passion and a skill for drawing from an early age. From the age of seven, Picasso received formal artistic training from his father, who was a traditional, academic artist and instructor who believed that proper training required disciplined copying of the masters in figure drawing and oil painting.In 1895, the family moved to Barcelona, where Ruiz took a position at its School of Fine Arts. Picasso thrived in the city, and three years later he was sent to sudy at Madrid’s Royal Academy of San Fernando, the country’s foremost art school. Madrid also held many other attractions. The Prado housed paintings by Diego Velázquez, Francisco Goya, and Francisco Zurbarán. Picasso especially admired the works of El Greco; elements like the elongated limbs, arresting colors, and mystical visages are echoed in his later work. Picasso made his first trip to Paris in 1900, then the art capital of Europe. There, he met his first Parisian friend, the journalist and poet Max Jacob, who helped Picasso learn the language and its literature. In 1901, Picasso and his friend founded the magazine Arte Joven (Young Art), which published five issues and Picasso illustrated the journal, mostly contributing grim cartoons depicting and sympathizing with the state of the poor. The first issue was published on 31 March 1901.

1901 was also the start of Picasso’s Blue Period and his paintings were rendered in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colors. He painted several posthumous portraits of his friend Carlos Casagemas, culminating in the gloomy allegorical painting La Vie (1903)The period between 1904 and 1906 is known as Picasso’s Rose Period and is characterized by a more cheery style with orange and pink colors, and featuring many circus people, acrobats and harlequins known in France as saltimbanques. During this time Picasso became a favorite of the American art collectors Leo and Gertrude Stein. Their older brother Michael Stein and his wife Sarah also became collectors of his work. Picasso painted portraits of both Gertrude Stein and her nephew Allan Stein. Gertrude Stein became Picasso’s principal patron, acquiring his drawings and paintings and exhibiting them in her informal Salon at her home in Paris where he also met Henri Matisse who was to become a lifelong friend and rival. In 1907 Picasso joined an art gallery that had recently been opened in Paris by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Kahnweiler was a German art historian, art collector who became one of the premier French art dealers of the 20th century. He was among the first champions of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and the Cubism that they jointly developed. The years between 1907 and v1909 became known as Picasso’s African-influenced Period, when he painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which were inspired by African artifacts. Formal ideas developed during this period also lead directly into the Cubist period that follows.

The years between 1909 and 1912 mark Picasso’s cubism period where, along with Georges Braque, he developed a style of painting using monochrome brownish and neutral colors. Both artists took apart objects and “analyzed” them in terms of their shapes. Picasso and Braque’s paintings at this time have many similarities. Synthetic cubism (1912–1919) was a further development of the genre, in which cut paper fragments—often wallpaper or portions of newspaper pages—were pasted into compositions, marking the first use of collage in fine art. In the period following the upheaval of World War I, Picasso produced work in a neoclassical style. This “return to order” is evident in the work of many European artists in the 1920s, the artists of the New Objectivity movement and of the Novecento Italiano movement. Picasso’s paintings and drawings from this period frequently recall the work of Raphael and Ingres. During the 1930s, the minotaur replaced the harlequin as a common motif in his work. His use of the minotaur came partly from his contact with the surrealists, who often used it as their symbol, and it appears in one of Picasso’s most famous works Guernica (Which depicts the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War and is about the inhumanity, brutality and hopelessness of war) which is currently on display in Madrid’s Reina Sofía Museum.

During the Second World War, Picasso remained in Paris while the Germans occupied the city. Picasso’s artistic style did not fit the Nazi ideal of art, so he did not exhibit during his time. Retreating to his studio, he continued to paint, producing works such as the Stil’s l Life with Guitar (1942) and The Charnel House (1944–48).Around this time, Picasso took up writing as an alternative outlet. Between 1935 and 1959 he wrote over 300 poems, these works were gustatory, erotic and at times scatological, as were his two full-length plays Desire Caught by the Tail and The Four Little Girls. After World War II Picasso was one of 250 sculptors who exhibited in the 3rd Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in mid-1949. In the 1950s, Picasso’s style changed once again, as he took to producing reinterpretations of the art of the great masters. He made a series of works based on Velazquez’s painting of Las Meninas. He also based paintings on works by Goya, Poussin, Manet, Courbet and Delacroix. In 1967 a 50-foot high public sculpture designed by Picasso was unveiled in Chicago. and has become one of the most recognizable landmarks in downtown Chicago,Picasso’s final works were a mixture of styles, his means of expression in constant flux until the end of his life. Devoting his full energies to his work, Picasso became more daring, his works more colorful and expressive, and from 1968 through 1971 he produced a torrent of paintings and hundreds of copperplate etchings.

Throughout his long lifetime Picasso was exceptionally prolific and The total number of artworks he produced has been estimated at 50,000, comprising 1,885 paintings; 1,228 sculptures; 2,880 ceramics, roughly 12,000 drawings, many thousands of prints, and numerous tapestries and rugs. At the time of his death on 8th April 1973 many of his paintings were in his possession, as he had kept off the art market what he did not need to sell. In addition, Picasso had a considerable collection of the work of other famous artists, some his contemporaries, such as Henri Matisse, with whom he had exchanged works. Since Picasso left no will, his death duties (estate tax) to the French state were paid in the form of his works and others from his collection. These works form the core of the immense and representative collection of the Musée Picasso in Paris. In 2003, relatives of Picasso inaugurated a museum dedicated to him in his birthplace, Málaga, Spain, the Museo Picasso Málaga. The Museu Picasso in Barcelona features many of his early works, created while he was living in Spain, including many rarely seen works which reveal his firm grounding in classical techniques. The museum also holds many precise and detailed figure studies done in his youth under his father’s tutelage, as well as the extensive collection of Jaime Sabartés, his close friend and personal secretary.Several paintings by Picasso rank among the most expensive paintings in the world. Garçon à la pipe sold for $104 million at Sotheby’s on 4 May 2004, establishing a new price record. Dora Maar au Chat sold for US$95.2 million at Sotheby’s on 3 May 2006. On 4 May 2010, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust was sold at Christie’s for $106.5 million. The 1932 work, which depicts Picasso’s mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter reclining and as a bust, was valued at over $150 million. To ths day Picasso remains a top ranked artist (based on sales of his works at auctions) and remains of the best-known figures in 20th-century art.

Izzy Stradlin (Guns’n’Roses)

Best known as the co- founder and former rhythm guitarist with hard rock band Guns’n’Roses the musician, singer songwriter Izzy Stradlin Jeffrey Dean Isbell was born April 8, 1962. Stradlin developed an interest in music early in life; by the age of eight, his musical favorites included Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, and Led Zeppelin.His biggest musical influence was his paternal grandmother, who played drums in a swing jazz band with her friends. Inspired, Stradlin talked his parents into buying him a drum kit. During high school, Stradlin started a band with his friends, one of whom was singer William Bailey, later known as Axl Rose.Stradlin recalled, “We were long-haired guys in high school. You were either a jock or a stoner. We weren’t jocks, so we ended up hanging out together. We’d play covers in the garage. There were no clubs to play at, so we never made it out of the garage.” Despite his aversion to school, Stradlin graduated in 1979 with a D average. Set on a career in music, he subsequently moved to Los Angeles, California.

Shortly after his arrival in Los Angeles, Stradlin joined punk band Naughty Women. During his ill-fated first show with the band, audience members began attacking the musicians; His two-month tenure in Naughty Women was followed by a stint in punk band The Atoms, before his drum kit was stolen from his car and he switched to bass.Stradlin then joined the heavy metal band Shire, during which he took up rhythm guitar to aid his songwriting. In1983, Stradlin formed Hollywood Rose with his childhood friend Axl Rose, who had moved to Los Angeles the previous year. In January 1984, the band recorded a five-song demo featuring the tracks “Killing Time”, “Anything Goes”, “Rocker”, “Shadow of Your Love”, and “Reckless Life”, which were released in 2004 as part of the compilation album The Roots of Guns N’ Roses. The group disbanded in August, following which Stradlin briefly joined Sunset Strip staple London. He also formed the short-lived band Stalin with singer Eric Leach and guitarist Taz Rudd of Symbol Six. In December, he reunited with Hollywood Rose, who changed their name to Guns’n’Roses after the name of the compilation album.

GUNS’n’ROSES LIVE IN CHICAGO 1992 http://youtu.be/ztPWjlkqEtE

Guns’n’Roses formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1985. The classic lineup as signed to Geffen Records in 1986, consisted of vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler. Today, Axl Rose is the only remaining original member, in a lineup that comprises Use Your Illusion–era keyboardist Dizzy Reed, lead guitaristsDJ Ashba and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus, bassist Tommy Stinson, drummer Frank Ferrer, and keyboardist Chris Pitman. The band has released six studio albums to date, accumulating sales of more than 100 million records worldwide, inluding shipments of 45 million in the United States,making them one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time. Ayear after its release, Guns N’ Roses’ debut album Appetite for Destruction (1987) reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200, on the strength of the hit “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, their only single to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.The album has sold in excess of 28 million copies worldwide,including 18 million units sold in the United States, making it the best-selling debut album of all time in the U.S.

The success of their debut was followed by the eight-song album G N’ R Lies (1988). The twin albumsUse Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II (1991) debuted at No. 2 and No. 1 on theBillboard 200 and have sold a combined 35 million copies worldwide,including 14 million units sold in the United States alone.The cover album “The Spaghetti Incident?” (1993) was the band’s last studio album to feature Slash and McKagan. In 1991 Stradlin left Guns’n’Roses and Following his departure, he led his own band Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds for one album and tour.Following his departure from Guns N’ Roses, Stradlin returned to his hometown of Lafayette, Indiana, where he began working on new material. He formed the band Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds, which consisted of Stradlin on vocals and rhythm guitar, Rick Richards of Georgia Satellites on lead guitar, Jimmy Ashhurst of Broken Homes on bass, and Charlie Quintana on drums. Their self-titled debut album was released in October 1992 to critical acclaim; Rolling Stone called it “a ragged, blues-drenched, and thoroughly winning solo debut.”Ju Ju Hounds played its first show in September at The Avalon in Chicago, before embarking on a tour of Europe, Australia, and North America.

In May 1993, Stradlin reunited with Guns N’ Roses for five shows in Europe and the Middle East to fill in for his replacement, Gilby Clarke, who had broken his wrist in a motorcycle accident.After Stradlin returned to the Ju Ju Hounds, Axl Rose dedicated the Stradlin-penned “Double Talkin’ Jive” to him during several shows. In September, the Ju Ju Hounds toured Japan, afterwards Stradlin then took time off from music, during which he traveled extensively and dedicated much of his time to his other passion—motor racing, even building a track close to his Indiana home. In 1995, Stradlin began recording material for his second solo album, 117°.Released in March 1998, the album featured his former band mates Duff McKagan and Rick Richards, and former Reverend Horton Heat drummer Taz Bentley. In December 1999, Stradlin’s third solo album, Ride On, was released in Japan Stradlin, McKagan, Richards, Bentley and keyboard player Ian McLagen played four shows in Japan and Recorded two more albums: River, and On Down the Road. Stradlin was then asked by his former Guns N’ Roses band mates Duff McKagan, Slash, and Matt Sorum to join the supergroup Velvet Revolver which Stradlin ultimately declined although he offered to share vocal duties with McKagan.In 2003, Stradlin recorded his sixth album, Like a Dog, with guitarist Rick Richards, drummer Taz Bentley, and bassist JT Longoria. However, the album was not released until October 2005,The following year, Stradlin re-released Ride On, River, On Down the Road, and Like a Dog.

In May 2006, thirteen years after his last performance with Guns N’ Roses, Stradlin made a guest appearance at the band’s show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York; he played on “Patience”, “Think About You”, and “Nightrain”.He then performed with Guns N’ Roses during the band’s summer European tour. Stradlin released his seventh album, Miami, which featured Rick Richards, Taz Bentley, JT Longoria and keyboardist Joey Huffman. He also released the album, Fire, the Acoustic Album, which featured Richards, Bentley, and Longoria. Stradlin’s next release, Concrete, came out in July 2008 and Stradlin invited his former Guns N’ Roses band mate Duff McKagan to play bass on three songs, including the title track.Stradlin then released two more albums Smoke, which came out in December 2009, and Wave of Heat, which followed in July 2010 and again featured McKagan, who appears on seven tracks. Also in 2010, Stradlin appeared on former bandmate Slash’s first solo album, Slash; and plays rhythm guitar on the first track, “Ghost”. In April 2012, Stradlin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the classic lineup of Guns N’ Roses. The following month, he joined Guns N’ Roses on stage during two shows at London’s O2 Arena, where they performed a range of songs including “14 Years,”.He also performed with Guns N’ Roses at Saint-Tropez and Palma de Mallorca, and during the last two shows of the band’s twelve-date “Appetite for Democracy” residency in Las Vegas. Stradlin also released the iTunes-only single “Baby-Rann.

Guns N’ Roses gained a reputation that had earned them the nickname “The World’s Most Dangerous Band”.The band’s classic lineup, along with later members Reed and drummer Matt Sorum, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, their first year of eligibility. Rose has also been named one of the greatest singers of all time by various media outlets, including Rolling Stone and NME. In 2015, guitarist DJ Ashba left the band, citing his commitments to his family and other band, Sixx:A.M, then Ron Thal and Tommy Stinson also left Guns N’ Roses. Soon after this a Guns N’ Roses teaser was released and Billboard reported that Slash was set to rejoin the band and a “reunited” lineup will headline Coachella 2016. IN January 2016 KRPQ reported that Guns N’ Roses were officially headlining Coachella with Slash and Duff McKagan rejoining the band. The band’s first scheduled concerts with Slash and McKagan will take place at the newly opened T-Mobile Arena on April 8 and 9, 2016. In March 2016, the band announced 21 cities as part of a North American tour, dubbed the Not in This Lifetime Tour. A previously unannounced warmup gig also Took place at the Troubador in Los Angeles on April 1