LGBT history Month

February 1st marks the start LGBT History Month, which is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. It is observed during October in the United States, to include National Coming Out Day on October 11. However In the United Kingdom, it is observed during February, to coincide with a major celebration of the 2005 abolition of Section 28, which had the effect of prohibiting schools from discussing LGBT issues or counselling LGBT or questioning youth.

LGBT History Month originated in the United States and was first celebrated in 1994. It was founded by Missouri high-school history teacher Rodney Wilson. Among early supporters and members of the first coordinating committee were Kevin Jennings of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); Kevin Boyer of Gerber/Hart Gay and Lesbian Library and Archives in Chicago; Paul Varnell, writer for the Windy City Times; Torey Wilson, Chicago area teacher; Johnda Boyce, women’s studies major at Columbus State University and Jessea Greenman of UC-Berkeley. Many gay and lesbian organizations supported the concept early on. In 1995, the National Education Association indicated support of LGBT History Month as well as other history months by resolution at its General Assembly.October was chosen by Wilson as the month for the celebration because National Coming Out Day already was established as a widely known event, on October 11, and October commemorated the first March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation by LGBT people in 1979. LGBT History Month is intended to encourage honesty and openness about being LGBT.While it was first known as Lesbian and Gay History Month, the coordinating committee soon added “bisexual” to the title. It has subsequently become known as LGBT History Month. The event has received criticism from, for example, the Concerned Women for America and others who believe it to be a form of indoctrination.

On June 2, 2000, President Bill Clinton declared June 2000 “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month”. President Barack Obama declared June 2009 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Pride Month 2009 on June 1, 2009. Equality Forum, a national and international LGBT civil rights organization with an educational focus, undertook responsibility for LGBT Month in 2006. Each day in October, an Icon is featured with a video, biography, bibliography, downloadable images and other educational resources at http://www.lgbthistorymonth.com. In 2011, Equality Forum introduced an internal search engine for all Icons from inception in 2006 to present. By clicking on “Icon Search” and choosing one of hundreds of categories such as African-American, Athlete, California, Germany, HIV/AIDS, Military, Religion, Transgender, Youth; visitors to the site will be provided with links to all Icons in that category. In 2012, for the first time, two American school districts celebrated LGBT History Month; the Broward County school district in Florida signed a resolution in September in support of LGBT Americans, and later that year the Los Angeles school district, America’s second-largest, also signed on.

LGBT History Month was instigated in the UK by Sue Sanders and Schools Out and first took place in February 2005. The event came in the wake of the abolition of Section 28 and is intended to raise awareness of, and combat prejudice against, an otherwise substantially invisible minority.The first celebration of the month in 2005 saw the organization of over 150 events around the UK. The organization’s website received over 50,000 hits in February 2005. The organization received a new logo designed by LGBT typographer Tony Malone in 2006, he has also ‘modified’ the logo for 2007. In 2007, Tony Malone’s first concept became the corporate logo for the national committee and each year started to receive its own mark.

The initiative received government backing from the deputy DfES and Equalities Minister Jacqui Smith, although some sections of the press argued against its political correctness, and pointed out that the sexuality of some historical figures is more a matter of speculation than fact. Supporters of the event countered that it is important to challenge heterosexist attitudes in society. LGBT History Month is intended to be an annual event in the United Kingdom taking place every February to coincide with a slower month in the schools calendar. The DfES promised funding for LGBT History Month for the first two years to help get the event off the ground. It is now quite well established and has garnered support from other sources. Long standing sponsors include the Metropolitan Police Service, the Metropolitan Police Authority, Amnesty International and the Crown Prosecution Service.The original patrons of the Month were Cyril Nri, Sarah Weir and Ian McKellen, to be replaced in 2009 by Cyril Nri, Angela Eagle, Labi Siffre and Ian McKellen.

In 2004, the first ever pre-launch event was sponsored by Southwark Council and took place at Tate Modern, the following year, the pre-launch was at the Metropolitan Police’s Empress State Building. In 2006, the TUC offered Congress House and in 2007, the event took place in the hall at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. Through the years many speakers have spoken at the events. These include Ian McKellen, Stella Duffy, Allan Horsfall, Linda Bellos, Baroness Scotland and Barbara Follett. On 5th March 2009, ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown hosted a reception at Downing Street to mark the Month and in Scotland LGBT History Month was celebrated as an LGBT community event, receiving support from LGBT community history projects such as Our Story Scotland and Remember When.For 2007 and 2008, the Scottish Executive also provided funding for a post at LGBT Youth Scotland to bring LGBT History Month into the wider community, including schools and youth groups

National Bird Feeding Month

February has been designated National Bird-Feeding Month. This celebratory month was created to educate the public on the wild bird feeding and watching hobby. Because of National Bird-Feeding Month, February has become the month most recognized with wild bird feeding promotions and activities. The month is an ideal time for promoting and enjoying the bird feeding hobby, which is home-based and nature-oriented. February was proclaimed National Bird-Feeding Month in, 1994 after John Porter (R-Il) entered the following resolution into the Congressional Record

“February is one of the most difficult months in the United States for wild birds (it’s difficult for wild birds everywhere), During this month, individuals are encouraged to provide food, water, and shelter to help wild birds survive. This assistance benefits the environment by supplementing wild bird’s natural diet of weed seeds and insects. Currently, one third of the U.S. adult population feeds wild birds in their backyards. In addition, backyard bird feeding is an entertaining, educational, and inexpensive pastime enjoyed by children and adults.

Bird feeding provides a needed break from today’s frantic lifestyles. Adults enjoy the relaxation and peacefulness afforded by watching birds — nature serves to relieve the stress and can get one’s day going on a tranquil note.Young children are naturally drawn to the activities involved in feeding wild birds, which can serve as excellent educational tools. Children can identify different species of birds with a field guide and can learn about the birds’ feeding and living habits. These observations can then provide excellent research opportunities for school projects and reports.Feeding wild birds in the backyard is an easy hobby to start and need not overtax the family budget. It can be as simple as mounting a single feeder outside a window and filling it with bird seed mix. For many people, the hobby progresses from there. They discover the relationship between the type and location of feeders, and the seeds offered in them, and the number and varieties of birds attracted. Parents can challenge an inquisitive child’s mind as they explore together these factors in trying to encourage visits by their favorite birds.”

Buster Keaton

Best known for his silent slapstick films, the American comic actor, filmmaker, producer and writer Joseph Frank “Buster” Keaton sadly died of lung cancer on February 1, 1966, aged 70, in Woodland Hills, California. He was born October 4, 1895 . His trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression, earning him the nickname “The Great Stone Face”. Buster Keaton was recognized as the seventh-greatest director by Entertainment Weekly. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Keaton the 21st-greatest male star. Critic Roger Ebert wrote of Keaton’s “extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929, when he worked without interruption on a series of films sadly though His career declined when he was hired by MGM. However, he recovered in the 1940s, remarried and successfully revived his career to a degree as an honored comic performer for the rest of his life, earning plaudits like an Academy Honorary Award in 1958.Orson Welles stated that Keaton’s The General is “the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made.”A 2002 worldwide poll by Sight & Sound ranked Keaton’s The General as the 15th best film of all time. Three other Keaton films received votes in the magazine’s survey: Our Hospitality,Sherlock, Jr., and The Navigator. At the age of three, Keaton began performing with his parents in The Three Keatons. He first appeared on stage in 1899 in Wilmington, Delaware. The act was mainly a comedy sketch. Myra played the saxophone to one side, while Joe and Buster performed on center stage. The young Keaton would goad his father by disobeying him, and the elder Keaton would respond by throwing him against the scenery, into the orchestra pit, or even into the audience. A suitcase handle was sewn into Keaton’s clothing to aid with the constant tossing. The act evolved as Keaton learned to take trick falls safely; he was rarely injured or bruised on stage.

February 1917, Keaton met Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle at the Talmadge Studios in New York City, where Arbuckle was under contract toJoseph M. Schenck. Joe Keaton disapproved of films, and Buster also had reservations about the medium. During his first meeting with Arbuckle, he asked to borrow one of the cameras to get a feel for how it worked. He took the camera back to his hotel room, dismantled and reassembled it. With this rough understanding of the mechanics of the moving pictures, he returned the next day, camera in hand, asking for work. He was hired as a co-star and gag man, making his first appearance in The Butcher Boy. Keaton later claimed that he was soon Arbuckle’s second director and his entire gag department. Keaton and Arbuckle became close friends, In 1920, The Saphead was released, in which Keaton had his first starring role in a full-length feature. It was based on a successful play,The New Henrietta, which had already been filmed once, under the title The Lamb, with Douglas Fairbanks playing the lead. Fairbanks recommended Keaton to take the role for the remake five years later, since the film was to have a comic slant. A clip from the beginning of CopsAfter Keaton’s successful work with Arbuckle, Schenck gave him his own production unit, Buster Keaton Comedies. He made a series of two-reel comedies, including One Week(1920), The Playhouse (1921), Cops (1922), and The Electric House (1922).

Keaton then moved to full-length features.A scene from steamboat Bill Jr. required Keaton to run into the shot and stand still on a particular spot. Then, the facade of a two-story building toppled forward on top of Keaton. Keaton’s character emerged unscathed, thanks to a single open window. The stunt required precision, because the prop house weighed two tons, and the window only offered a few inches of clearance around Keaton’s body. The sequence furnished one of the most memorable images of his career. Aside from Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928), Keaton’s most enduring feature-length films include Our Hospitality (1923), The Navigator (1924),Sherlock Jr. (1924), Seven Chances (1925), The Cameraman (1928), and The General (1927). The General, set during the American Civil War, combined physical comedy with Keaton’s love of trains, including an epic locomotive chase. Employing picturesque locations, the film’s storyline reenacted an actual wartime incident. Though it would come to be regarded as Keaton’s greatest achievement,.

One of his most biting parodies The Frozen North (1922), is a satirical take on William S. Hart’s Western melodramas, like Hell’s Hinges (1916) and The Narrow Trail (1917). In The Playhouse (1921), he parodied his contemporary Thomas H. Ince, Hart’s producer, who indulged in over-crediting himself in his film productions. The short also featured the impression of a performing monkey which was likely derived from a co-biller’s act (called Peter the Great). Three Ages (1923), Keaton’s first feature film, is a parody of D. W. Griffith’s Intolerance (1916), from which it replicates the three inter-cut shorts structure. Three Ages also featured parodies of Bible stories, like those of Samson andDaniel. In 1964, Keaton appeared with Joan Blondell and Joe E. Brown in the final episode of ABC’s circus drama, The Greatest Show on Earth, starring Jack Palance.In 1965, Keaton starred in the short film The Railrodder for the National Film Board of Canada. Wearing his traditional pork pie hat, he travelled from one end of Canada to the other on a motorized handcar, performing gags similar to those in films he made 50 years before. The film is also notable for being Keaton’s last silent screen performance. The Railrodder was made in tandem with a behind-the-scenes documentary about Keaton’s life and times, calledBuster Keaton Rides Again, also made for the National Film Board, which is twice the length of the short film. He played the central role in Samuel Beckett’s Film (1965), directed by Alan Schneider. Also in 1965, he traveled to Italy to play a role in Due Marines e un Generale, co-starring alongside with the famous Italian comedian duo of Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia.

Keaton signed with MGM in 1928, a business decision that he would later call the worst of his life. He realized too late that the studio system MGM represented would severely limit his creative input.Keaton was so depleted during the production of 1933’s What! No Beer? that MGM fired him after the filming was complete, despite the film being a resounding hit. In 1934, Keaton accepted an offer to make an independent film in Paris, Le Roi des Champs-Élysées. During this period, he made one other film in Europe, The Invader (released in America as An Old Spanish Custom in 1936). Upon Keaton’s return to Hollywood, he made a screen comeback in a series of 16 two-reel comedies for Educational Pictures. Most of these are simple visual comedies, with many of the gags supplied by Keaton himself, often recycling ideas from his family vaudeville act and his earlier films. The high point in the Educational series is Grand Slam Opera, featuring Buster in his own screenplay as an amateur-hour contestant. When the series lapsed in 1937, Keaton returned to MGM as a gag writer, including the Marx Brothers films, A Night at the Opera, (which included developing the famous crowded stateroom scene. At the Circus (1939) and Go West(1940), and providing material for Red Skelton. He also helped and advised Lucille Ball in her comedic work in films and television

.In 1939, Columbia Pictures hired Keaton to star in ten two-reel comedies, running for the series’ debut entry, Pest from the West, a shorter, tighter remake of Keaton’s little-viewed 1935 feature The Invader; The final entry was She’s Oil Mine, and Keaton swore he would never again “make another crummy two-reelerThroughout the 1940s, Keaton played character roles in both “A” and “B” features. He made his last starring feature Boom in the Moon (1946) in Mexico; the film was a low budget production, and it was not seen in the United States until its release on VHS in the 1980s. Critics rediscovered Keaton in 1949 and producers occasionally hired him for bigger “prestige” pictures. He had cameos in such films as In the Good Old Summertime (1949), Sunset Boulevard (1950), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1956). Keaton also appeared in a comedy routine about two inept stage musicians in Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight (1952), recalling the vaudeville of The Playhouse. He was a non-speaking card player in Sunset Blvd. (1950), providing additional weight to the silent era echoes of the movie. In 1950, Keaton had a successful television series, The Buster Keaton Show, which was broadcast live on a local Los Angeles station. An attempt to recreate the first series on film as Life with Buster Keaton (1951), In 1960, Keaton returned to MGM playing a lion tamer in a 1960 adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In 1961, he starred in The Twilight Zone episode “Once Upon a Time”, which included both silent and sound sequences. Keaton played time-traveler Mulligan, who traveled from 1890 to 1960, then back, by means of a special helmet. Keaton also had a cameo as Jimmy, appearing near the end of the film It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). Jimmy assists Spencer Tracy’s character, Captain C. G. Culpepper, by readying Culpepper’s ultimately-unused boat for his abortive escape

Despite being diagnosed with cancer in January 1966, he was never told that he was terminally ill or that he had cancer; Keaton thought that he was recovering from bronchitis. Confined to a hospital during his final days, Keaton was restless and paced the room endlessly, desiring to return home. In a British television documentary about his career, his widow Eleanor told producers of Thames Television that Keaton was up out of bed and moving around, and even played cards with friends who came to visit at their house the day before he died. His Speak Easily co-star, Hedda Hopper, died the same day. Eleanor Keaton died in 1998, from emphysema and lung cancer, aged 80 .years.

Piet Mondrian

Dutch Painter Pieter Cornelis “Piet” Mondriaan, sadly died 1 February 1944 after contracting pneumonia. He was born March 7, 1872. in Amersfoort, Netherlands. He moved to Winterswijk when his father, Pieter Cornelius Mondriaan, was appointed Head Teacher at a local primary school. Mondrian was introduced to art from a very early age: his father was a qualified drawing teacher; and, with his uncle, Fritz Mondriaan. Piet often painted and drew along the river Gein. In 1892, Mondrian entered the Academy for Fine Art in Amsterdam. He already was qualified as a teacher. He began his career as a teacher in Primary Education, but he also practiced painting. Most of his work from this period is Naturalistic or Impressionistic, consisting largely of landscapes, depicting windmills, fields, and rivers, initially in the Dutch Impressionist manner of the Hague School and then in a variety of styles and techniques. These paintings illustrate the influence various artistic movements had on Mondrian, including Pointillism and the vivid colors of Fauvism. On display in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague are a number of paintings from this period, including The Red Mill and Trees in Moonrise. Another painting, Evening (Avond) (1908), a scene of haystacks in a field at dusk, uses a palette consisting almost entirely of red, yellow, and blue And is the earliest of Mondrian’s works to emphasize the primary colors. The earliest paintings that show an inkling of the abstraction to come are a series of canvases from 1905 to 1908, which depict dim scenes of indistinct trees and houses with reflections in still water. In 1908, he became interested in the theosophical movement launched by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.

Mondrian’s later work were influenced by the 1911 Moderne Kunstkring exhibition of Cubism in Amsterdam. His search for simplification is shown in two versions of Still Life with Ginger Pot (Stilleven met Gemberpot). The 1911 version is Cubist; in, the 1912 version, it is reduced to a round shape with triangles and rectangles. In 1911, Mondrian moved to Paris and changed his name (dropping an ‘a’ from Mondriaan., in 1913, Mondrian began combining his art and his theosophical studies into a theory that signaled his final break from representational painting. While Mondrian was visiting home in 1914, World War I began, forcing him to remain in The Netherlands for the duration of the conflict. During this period, he stayed at the Laren artist’s colony, there meeting Bart van der Leck and Theo van Doesburg. Van der Leck’s use of only primary colors in his art greatly influenced Mondrian. Mondrian published “De Nieuwe Beelding in de schilderkunst” (“The New Plastic in Painting”) in twelve installments during 1917 and 1918. This was his first major attempt to express his artistic theory in writing.

In 1918, Mondrian returned to France and he flourished in the atmosphere of intellectual freedom and artistic innovation. In 1919 Mondrian began producing grid-based paintings and in 1920, the style for which he came to be renowned began to appear. In the early paintings of this style the lines delineating the rectangular forms are relatively thin, and they are gray, not black. The forms themselves, are smaller and more numerous than in later paintings, are filled with primary colors, black, or gray, and nearly all of them are colored; only a few are left white. Around 1920 Mondrian’s started painting thick black lines separating larger forms, which Were fewer in number, with more Spaces being left white. the rectangular forms remain mostly colored. such as in the “lozenge” works that Mondrian began producing with regularity in the mid-1920s. The “lozenge” paintings are square canvases tilted 45 degrees, so that they hang in a diamond shape. Typical of these is Schilderij No. 1: Lozenge With Two Lines and Blue (1926), also known as Composition With Blue and Composition in White and Blue, which is currently on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. One of the most minimal of Mondrian’s canvases, this painting consists only of two black, perpendicular lines and a small triangular form, colored blue. As the years progressed, lines began to take precedence over forms in his painting. In the 1930s, he began to use thinner lines and double lines more frequently, punctuated with a few small colored forms, if any at all.

In September 1938, Mondrian left Paris in the face of advancing fascism and moved to London. After the Netherlands were invaded and Paris fell in 1940, he left London for Manhattan, where he would remain until his death. works from this later period demonstrate an unprecedented business, however, with more lines than any of his work since the 1920s, placed in an overlapping arrangement that is almost cartographical in appearance. Mondrian produced Lozenge Composition With Four Yellow Lines (1933), a simple painting that included thick, coloured lines instead of black ones, as well as Composition (1938) and Place de la Concorde (1943). The new canvases that Mondrian began in Manhattan are even more startling. New York City (1942) is a complex lattice of red, blue, and yellow lines, occasionally interlacing to create a greater sense of depth than his previous works. His painting Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1942–43) was highly influential in the school of abstract geometric painting. The piece is made up of a number of shimmering squares of bright color that leap from the canvas, then appear to shimmer, drawing the viewer into those neon lights. Mondrian replaced former solid lines with lines created from small adjoining rectangles of color, created in part by using small pieces of paper tape in various colors. Larger unbounded rectangles of color punctuate the design, some with smaller concentric rectangles inside them. While Mondrian’s works of the 1920s and 1930s have an almost scientific austerity about them, these are bright, lively paintings, reflecting the upbeat music that inspired them and the city in which they were made.

Piet Mondrian returned to Paris in 1919, and set about making his studio a nurturing environment for paintings which expressed Neo-Plasticism. In 1943, Mondrian moved into his second and final Manhattan studio but Tragically died in February 1944. He is interred in the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.On February 2, 1944, a memorial, attended by nearly 200, was held for Mondrian, at the Universal Chapel on Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street in Manhattan.

Mary Shelley (Frankenstein)

Best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus, the English Novellist, short story writer essayist, biographer and travel writer Mary Shelley (née Wollstonecraft Godwin) Sadly died On 1 February 1851, at Chester Square, at the age of fifty-three from a suspected brain tumour. Born 30 August 1797, When Mary was four, William Godwin married his neighbour, Mary Jane Clairmont. Godwin provided his daughter with a rich, if informal, education. In 1814, Mary Godwin began a romantic relationship with one of her father’s political followers, the married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Together with Mary’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont, they left for France and travelled through Europe. In 1816, the couple famously spent a summer with Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Claire Clairmont near Geneva, Switzerland, where Mary conceived the idea for her novel Frankenstein. which remains popular to this day and has been adapted for theatre, Film and Television numerous times. During her prolific writing career Shelley also wrote the historical novels Valperga (1823) and Perkin Warbeck (1830), the apocalyptic novel The Last Man (1826), and her final two novels, Lodore (1835) and Falkner (1837). Together with lesser-known works such as the travel book Rambles in Germany and Italy (1844) and the biographical articles for Dionysius Lardner’s Cabinet Cyclopaedia (1829–46)

Upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant with Percy’s child, who tragically died prematurely. They married in 1816 after the suicide of Percy Shelley’s first wife Harriet. Sadly the marriage was dogged with tragedy, their first second and third children died before Mary Shelley gave birth to her last and only surviving child, Percy Florence. In 1818 The Shelleys left Britain for Italy, sadly though In 1822, her husband drowned when his sailing boat sank during a storm near Viareggio. year later, Mary Shelley returned to England and from then on devoted herself to the upbringing of her son Percy and a career as a professional author.

During 1840 and 1842, mother and son travelled together on the continent, journeys that Mary Shelley recorded in Rambles in Germany and Italy in 1840, 1842 and 1843 (1844). In 1844, Sir Timothy Shelley finally died at the age of ninety. In 1848, Percy Florence married Jane Gibson St John. The marriage proved a happy one, and Mary Shelley and Jane were fond of each other. Mary lived with her son and daughter-in-law at Field Place, Sussex, the Shelleys’ ancestral home, and at Chester Square, London, and accompanied them on travels abroad and in order to fulfil Mary Shelley’s wishes, Percy Florence and his wife Jane had the coffins of Mary Shelley’s parents exhumed and buried with her in Bournemouth. In the mid-1840s, Mary Shelley found herself the target of three separate blackmailers. In 1845, an Italian political exile called Gatteschi, whom she had met in Paris, threatened to publish letters she had sent him. Shortly afterwards, Mary Shelley bought some letters written by herself and Percy Bysshe Shelley from a man calling himself G. Byron and posing as the illegitimate son of the late Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s cousin Thomas Medwin approached her claiming to have written a damaging biography of Percy Shelley.

Mary Shelley’s last years were blighted by illness. From 1839, she suffered from headaches and bouts of paralysis in parts of her body, which sometimes prevented her from reading and writing. . According to Jane Shelley, Mary Shelley had asked to be buried with her mother and father; but Percy and Jane, judging the graveyard at St Pancras to be “dreadful”, chose to bury her instead at St Peter’s Church, Bournemouth, near their new home at Boscombe.On the first anniversary of Mary Shelley’s death, the Shelleys opened her box-desk. Inside they found locks of her dead children’s hair, a notebook she had shared with Percy Bysshe Shelley, and a copy of his poem Adonaïs with one page folded round a silk parcel containing some of his ashes and the remains of his heart.

Terry Jones (Mony Python)

British comedian, screenwriter, actor, film director and author Terry Jones was born 1 February 1942 in the seaside town of Colwyn Bay, on the north coast of Wales. The family home was named Bodchwil. His father was stationed with the RAF in India. When Jones was 4½, the family moved to Surrey in England.Jones was educated at the Royal Grammar SchoolGuildford, where he was head boy in the 1960-61 academic year. He read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, but “strayed into history”.He graduated with a 2:1.While there, he performed comedy with future Monty Python castmate Michael Palin in The Oxford Revue.

Jones appeared in Twice a Fortnight with Michael Palin, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Jonathan Lynn, as well as the television series The Complete and Utter History of Britain. He appeared in Do Not Adjust Your Set with Palin, Eric Idle andDavid Jason. He wrote for The Frost Report and several other David Frost programmes on British television. Along with Palin, he wrote lyrics for the 1968 Barry Booth album “Diversions”. Early on, Jones was interested in devising a fresh format for the Python TV shows, and it was largely he who developed the stream-of-consciousness style which abandoned punchlines and encouraged the fluid movement of one sketch into another, allowing the troupe’s conceptual humour the space to “breathe”. Jones took a keen interest in the direction of the show. As demonstrated in many of his sketches with Palin, Jones was interested in making comedy that was visually impressive, feeling that interesting settings augmented, rather than detracted from, the humour. His methods encouraged many future television comedians to break away from conventional studio-bound shooting styles, as demonstrated by shows such as Green Wing, Little Britain and The League of Gentlemen. Of Jones’ contributions as a performer, his depictions of middle-aged women are among the most memorable and his humour, in collaboration with Palin, tends to be conceptual in nature. A typical Palin/Jones sketch draws its humour from the absurdity of the scenario. For example, in the “Summarise Proust Competition”, Jones plays a cheesy game show host who gives contestants 15 seconds to condense Marcel Proust’s lengthy work À la recherche du temps perdu. Jones was also noted for his gifts as aChaplinesque physical comedian. His performance in the “Undressing in Public” sketch, for instance, is done in total silence.

Jones co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Terry Gilliam, and was sole director on two further Monty Python movies, Life of Brian and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. As a film director, Jones finally gained fuller control of the projects and devised a visual style that complemented the humour. His later films include Erik the Viking (1989) and The Wind in the Willows (1996). In 2008, Jones wrote and directed an opera titled Evil Machines. in 2011, he was commissioned to direct and write the libretto for another opera, entitled The Doctor’s Tale. On the commentary track of the 2004 “2 Disc Special Edition” DVD for the film Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Terry Jones stated that to his knowledge Ireland had banned only four movies, three of which he had directed: The Meaning of Life, Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Personal Services. He was the creator and co-producer of the animated television program Blazing Dragons, which ran for two seasons. set in a fantasy medieval setting, the series’ protagonists are dragons who are beset by evil humans, reversing a common story convention. When the series was broadcast on US television, several episodes were censored due to minor cursing and the implied sexuality of an overtly effeminate character named “Sir Blaze”. itwas turned into a game for the Sega Saturn in 1994, which starred Jones’s voice. He co-wrote Ripping Yarns with Palin, and wrote the screenplay for Labyrinth (1986), although his draft went through several rewrites and several other writers before being filmed; much of the finished film wasn’t written by Jones at all. He has also written numerous works for children, including Fantastic Stories, The Beast with a Thousand Teeth, and a collection of Comic Verse called The Curse of the Vampire’s Socks.

He has written books and presented many award nominated television documentaries on medieval and ancient history and the history of numeral systems. such ad Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives (2004) (for which he received a 2004Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming”) and Terry Jones’ Barbarians (2006) which presents the cultural achievements of peoples conquered by theRoman Empire in a more positive light than Roman historians typically have, while criticising the Romans as the true “barbarians” who exploited and destroyed higher civilisations. He has written numerous editorials for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and The Observer condemning the Iraq war. Many of these editorials were published in a paperback collection titled Terry Jones’s War on the War on Terror. Chaucer’s Knight: The Portrait of a Medieval Mercenary (1980) offers an alternative take on the historical view of Geoffrey Chaucer’sThe Knight’s Tale as being a paragon of Christian virtue. His most recent book, Evil Machines, was launched by the online publishing house Unbound at the Adam Street Club in London on 4 November 2011. Evil Machines is the first book to be published by a crowd funding website dedicated solely to books. Jones provided significant support to Unbound and also a member of the UK Poetry Society, his poems have also appeared in Poetry Review.

Jones has performed with The Carnival Band and appears on their 2007 CD Ringing the changes. In January 2008, the Teatro São Luiz, in Lisbon, Portugal, premiered Evil Machines – a musical play, written by Jones (based on his book) and with original music by Luis Tinoco. Jones was invited by the Teatro São Luiz to write and direct the play, after a very successful run of Contos Fantásticos, a short play based on Jones’ Fantastic Stories, also with music by Luis Tinoco. In January 2012, it was announced that Jones is working with songwriter/producer Jim Steinman on a heavy metal version of “The Nutcracker.” Apart from a cameo in Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky and a memorable minor role as a drunken vicar in BBC sitcom The Young Ones, Jones has rarely appeared in work outside of his own projects. Since January 2009, however, he has provided narration for The Legend of Dick and Dom, a CBBC fantasy series set in the Middle Ages. He also appears in two French films by Albert Dupontel : Le Créateur (1999) and Enfermés dehors (2006). In 2009 Jones took part in the BBC Wales programme Coming Home about his Welsh family history. Unfortunately Jones was sadly recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Mulholland Drive by Micheal Connelly

I have recently downloaded the ebook Mullholland drive by Michael Connelly. Mullholland Drive is a collection of three exciting  and gripping short thrillers set in Los Angeles, featuring Detective Harry Bosch and written by Michael Connelly. . The title story features, a fatal accident on Mulholland Drive which turns out to be part of an ingenious plot – however it turns out that it may be too ingenious.

The second story Two Bagger, features a dedicated cop who is working for the Gang Intelligence Unit and finally gets the payoff he’s worked so hard for – unfortunately though it turns out to be not what he’s expecting. The final story Cahoots, features an illicit back room poker game involving a team of scam artists which turns deadly when it becomes unclear who is scamming who.

KILL OR BE KILLED BY JAMES PATTERSON

I Have also recently bought Kill or be killed by James Patterson. I thought it was a full novel but it turns out to be a collection of four exciting and gripping short thrillers which have all been sold seperately as Book Shots. The first story The Trial features Detective Lyndsay Boxer and the Womens Murder Club who finds themselves in all sorts of trouble after An accused Murderer threatens to unleash a torrent of unimaginable violence on the people involved in his trial and conviction, who ends up paralyzing the whole city and it is up to Lyndsay and the Women’s Murder Club to sort it out

The second story Heist features a band of audacious jewel thieves who are planning the perfect diamond heist. However their plans are complicated when a rival gang of jewel thieves also turn up at the same time with the same Idea and things get a bit out of hand. The third story The Womans war features former Marine Corp Colonel Amanda Collins and her lethal team of women Warriors who have vowed to avenge her family’s murder after deciding that they have nothing left to lose.

The final story Little black dress has also been offered as a BOOKSHOT And features a single woman who is fed up with playing it safe and so during a date with someone she has never met before she decides to up the ante and do something a bit daring and risky regardless of the risks. Predictably her “games” end up becoming potentially life threatening when they go a bit too far and she ends up being reported missing….