The Jungle by Clive Cussler

I am currently reading the Exciting action adventure Thriller The Jungle by Clive Cussler. This is the eighth novel in the Oregon Files. It features the daring exploits of a crew of mercenaries called The Corporation comprising of Juan Cabrillo, Eddie Seng, Lincoln, Max Hanley, George “Gomez” Adams and Linda Ross who embark on dangerous covert operations for Government agencies, wealthy individuals or industrialists in the world’s trouble spots. They are stationed aboard a ship called The Oregon which from the outside looks as if it is ready for the scrapyard however inside the ship is very high tech and boasts the latest in technology and weaponry

They are tasked with rescuing an ex-foreign legion chap McD Lawless and a young lad named named Seti from the clutches of a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan. Mac D subsequently joins the crew. The Corporation is then hired by a very wealthy man named Roland Croissard and accompanied by Croissard’s bodyguard John Smith(whom Cabrillo doesn’t trust) to find his adventurer daughter Soleil, who appears to have gone missing and gotten into trouble in the jungles of Myanmar. However before they can get there they find themselves embroiled in a attempted suicide bombing at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore

The Oregon crew journey to many locations from Afghanistan, to Singapore and Myanmar as they try to locate Soleil. However the crew find that they have been set up and Cabrillo is betrayed and tortured and finds himself being used as a pawn in somebody else’s deadly scheme. Then an even bigger problem arises and The crew ends up being the only possible group that can prevent nuclear Armageddon after a super villain threatens to bring the United States to its knees by revealing the US Nuclear launch codes to the highest bidder

Mark Stoermer (The Killers)

Mark Stoemer, the bass player with The Killers was born 28 June 1977. The killers were formed in 2001, by Brandon Flowers (lead vocals, keyboards) and Dave Keuning (guitar, backing vocals). Mark Stoermer (bass, backing vocals) and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. (drums, percussion) completed the current line-up of the band in 2002. The Killers trace their beginings to 2001, when Flowers was fired by his first band, a Las Vegas synthpop trio known as Blush Response. After attending an Oasis concert at the Hard Rock Hotel during The Tour of Brotherly Love, Flowers realized his calling was to be in a rock band and began searching for like-minded musicians. He eventually came across an ad posted in a Las Vegas newspaper by Dave Keuning, a 25-year-old guitarist who had moved to Vegas from Iowa a year earlier. When the pair met they bonded over similar musical influences and immediately began writing songs together in Keuning’s apartment. In November 2001, they headed to Kill The Messenger Studio in Henderson, Nevada along with recently recruited drummer Matt Norcross to begin recording a demo; they recorded two tracks: “Mr. Brightside”, which was the first song Flowers and Keuning wrote together, and “Desperate”. A month later they recorded two more, “Under the Gun” and “Replaceable”, with Keuning’s roommate Dell Neal on bass.

Keuning and Flowers played their first live show together at an open mic night at the Cafe Espresso Roma in Las Vegas in January 2002; the pair, joined by Neal and Norcross, began playing venues around the city where they would also hand out free copies of their demo. The Killers brought a unique style to the small Vegas music scene which was predominately filled with punk, nu metal, and rap bands; one local reviewer stated, “The Killers, thankfully, don’t come across like any other band in town” and described their sound as a mix between the “pop styles of British music and the lo-fi fuzz of modern indie rock. However, The Killers, whose early live sound was also described as erratic, had, by the summer of 2002, fired drummer Matt Norcross and replaced him briefly with Brian Havens, who also was eventually fired. Bassist Dell Neal later left the band due to personal reasons.

Ronnie Vannucci Jr. joined The Killers shortly before Neal’s departure. Vannucci was well-known on the Las Vegas music scene, having played in numerous bands since a young age. It was while he was drumming for other bands including Daphne Major and Romance Fantasy in 2002 that he had met The Killers. Ronnie’s first show with the band was on August 30, 2002, at a club called The Junkyard. Playing bass for The Killers that night was Mark Stoermer, who was at this point the lead guitarist for local progressive rock band The Negative Ponies. The band were keen on Stoermer joining them on a permanent basis with full commitment, but he was reluctant to leave The Negative Ponies. However Stoermer eventually accepted the invitation to join the Killers.

The four of them would get together in Vannucci’s garage to work on song ideas. They would also sneak into the band room at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (where Vannucci was studying classical percussion) at night to practice. It was during this period that the band wrote much of their debut album Hot Fuss including hit singles “Somebody Told Me” and “Smile Like You Mean It”. The band continued playing at small venues around their hometown, often playing Sunday nights at a transvestite bar named Sasha’s (later renamed Tramps).

Braden Merrick, brothers dicvoereed their demo on a website dedicated to unsigned bands in the Las Vegas area; after attending a live show he offered to help the band find a record deal and eventually became their manager. He took the band to the San Francisco area, to Berkeley, California, to record demos with former Green Day manager Jeff Saltzman, they then sent the demo tapes out to major record labels in the US. The band was invited to perform at a number of showcases but were ultimately not signed, the band however did catch the eye of Alex Gilbert,[15] who was an A&R rep from the United Kingdom. Gilbert took a demo with him back to the UK and showed it to his friend Ben Durling, who worked at the newly formed Independent label Lizard King Records in London. Despite not yet meeting the band in person, Lizard King were quick to offer the band a deal based on the strength of the five song demo. The Killers signed with the British label in July 2003.

In 2003, the song “Mr. Brightside” premiered on DJ Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show in the UK The Killers travelled to London the following month to spend a week playing at influential live music venues across the city. “Mr. Brightside” was released in the UK in 2003 on a limited number of CDs and vinyl records, critical reviews of both the song and the shows were positive, NME magazine noted the band’s retro sound. They were invited to play at the ASCAP CMJ Music Marathon in New York City.  The band finished recording Hot Fuss in November 2003 and Shortly afterwards they returned to London to support British Sea Power on their UK tour, the band also worked with Alan Moulder at Eden Studios and Townhouse Studios. They continued playing support slots during 2004 touring both the US & UK with Stellastarr and opening for Morrissey on two separate occasions. The band filmed their first music video for the release of “Somebody Told Me”. The band’s first headline tour started in the UK in 2004. and they played sets at festivals across Europe and North America which helped add to their growing fanbase. The Killers released their debut album Hot Fuss In 2004

Extensive touring and the success of the Grammy Award nominated singles “Somebody Told Me”, “All These Things That I’ve Done” and “Mr. Brightside” led to the album becoming a huge commercial success. The Killers were named The World’s Best Selling New Group at the 2005 World Music Awards, and also won the MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist and were also nominated for three Grammy Awards with Hot Fuss being nominated for Best Rock Album, in the UK they picked up an NME Award for Best International Band. The band was recognized by Rolling Stone as the “best-selling new rock band of the past year” in June 2005. Lead singer Brandon Flowers had also gained media attention, being named both Sexiest and Best Dressed Man at the NME Awards,

In July 2005, The Killers performed at the Live 8 concert, playing “All These Things That I’ve Done”. Robbie Williams incorporated the song’s refrain “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” into his own performance. Coldplay and U2 followed suit and, at their separate concerts played in Las Vegas, with The Killers in the crowd, incorporated the line into their songs “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face” and “Beautiful Day”, respectively.

The band fired manager Braden Merrick in 2006, Merrick later filed a lawsuit against the band for breach of contract and their new manager and lawyer Robert Reynolds for $16 million each.The band counter sued citing that Merrick’s poor management had cost them millions. The case was settled in 2009. Shortly after finishing touring for Hot Fuss, The Killers headed back into the studio to start recording their highly anticipated second studio album with producers Alan Moulder and Flood, who were working together for the first time in a decade. Sam’s Town was mostly recorded at Studio at the Palms in Las Vegas, with finishing touches added to the album at Criterion Studios, London in June 2006. Upon completion of the album, Flowers claimed he felt the band had made “one of the best albums of the past twenty years” and that he wanted the album to capture “everything important that got me to where I am today”.

The single “When You Were Young” was released in 2006 and it gaimed another two Grammy Award nominations and mostly positive reviews with many bringing attention to the influence of Heartland rock on the song Dustland Fairytale. The Killers’ second album, Sam’s Town, was named after a locals casino in the band’s hometown of Las Vegas. The Killers also recorded a live session at Abbey Road Studios for Live from Abbey Road on November 29, 2006. They performed an almost totally unplugged set, which included stripped back versions of the album’s title track “Sam’s Town”, “When You Were Young” and a rendition of the Dire Straits hit “Romeo and Juliet”. In December 2006 the band released a Christmas charity song, “A Great Big Sled”, which benefited Product Red.

In 2007, The Killers attended the BRIT Awards in the United Kingdom, where they performed “When You Were Young”. The band won two awards — Best International Group & International Album. In the same month the band’s Tim Burton-directed video for the album’s second single “Bones” won Best Video at the NME Awards. The band recorded the video for third single “Read My Mind” in Tokyo, Japan during a break in their Sam’s Town Tour, the single release was accompanied by a remix of the song by the Pet Shop Boys. The Killers also began headlining arenas including Madison Square Garden for the first time, they also headlined a number of major European festivals during 2007 including Glastonbury Festival. The band released a compilation album called Sawdust, containing B-sides, rarities and unreleased material in November 2007 including the song “Tranquilize”, a collaboration with Lou Reed, And a cover of “Shadowplay” by Joy Division which was recorded for the soundtrack to the Anton Corbijn directed biopic Control.

Stuart Price produced their third studio album, having previously remixed their songs under his Jacques Lu Cont moniker, the most notable being the remix of “Mr. Brightside”. They first met Price at his London home in 2007 to discuss the possibility of him producing some unreleased tracks for their b-sides album Sawdust, they recorded a demo of “Human” a new song that would become the eventual lead single from Day & Age which was released in October 2008 with Brandon Flowers describing the song as “Johnny Cash meets the Pet Shop Boys”. The song went on to become a huge hit worldwide, the lyric “Are we human, or are we dancer?” created much confusion and debate due to its grammar and ambiguity, with some believing the lyric was “dancers” or “denser” rather than “dancer”, Flowers explained that the line was inspired by a Hunter S. Thompson quote where he stated America was raising “a generation of dancers”.

The Killers’ third album, Day & Age, was released on November 18, 2008. Brandon Flowers stated that “Day & Age” was “like looking at Sam’s Town from Mars”, the band have called it their “most playful record” with the album making use of saxophones, steel drums, harpsichord & tribal chanting. It also became a huge success and contains the songs “Goodnight, Travel Well” and “A Dustland Fairytale”. The band embarked on the Day & Age World Tour, on every continent except Antarctica and headlined US festivals Lollapalooza and Coachella. In 2009 The Killers recorded their first live DVD, “Live from the Royal Albert Hall”. During 2010 The Killers band members devoted themselves on solo projects. sadly in 2010, Flowers’ mother died after a two-year fight with brain cancer. The Day & Age tour finished in Melbourne as the headline act at the Good Vibrations Festival at Flemington Racecourse.

In 2011 the Killers headlined the new International Lollapalooza Festival in Santiago, Chile and performed at the season closing Top of the Mountain concert in Ischgl, Austria on April 30, 2011. They headlined Hard Rock Calling for the second time in Hyde Park, London on June 24, 2011 and The Killers were also the inaugural headliner of the new Orlando Calling Festival in Orlando, FL on November 12, 2011. Sadly In April 2012, Tommy Marth, who had played saxophone on the band’s Sam’s Town and Day & Age albums, toured with the band during their Day & Age World Tour and can be seen performing with the band on the Live From The Royal Albert Hall DVD, committed suicide at his Las Vegas home. The band released their fourth successful studio album “Battle Born” in 2012, produced by Steve Lillywhite, Damian Taylor, Brendan O’Brien, Stuart Price and Daniel Lanois featuring the single “Runaways”. They also headlined Saturday night at the inaugural Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware. The band’s Battle Born World Tour includedAmerica, Europe, Australia, Russia and China. They also headlined festivals across Europe, Australia, South America & North America. In October 2013 The Killers headlined the inaugural Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas, concluding their Battle Born World Tour.

In September, 2013, exactly ten years to the day of their first show in London, The Killers released “Shot at the Night” together with their first greatest hits compilation, Direct Hits, featuring songs from all four studio albums, plus the new single “Shot at the Night” and another new song “Just Another Girl”. the band also played a number of festivals in 2014 including the opening night of the new T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas strip on April 6, 2016. the band also celebrated the tenth anniversary of their second album, Sam’s Town, by playing two nights at the Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall, which the album was named after. The Killers also wrote and performed all the instruments (minus the vocals) for the track “Mixed Signals” off Robbie Williams’ latest studio album, The Heavy Entertainment Show. In 2016, The Killers released a Christmas compilation album Don’t Waste Your Wishes with 100% of proceeds donated to the Product Red campaign.

Some of the Killers best known songs are Mr Brightside,smile like you mean it, When You were Young, Bones, Read my Mind, Human and For Reasons Unknown. The name The Killers is derived from a logo on the bass drum of a fictitious band portrayed in the music video for the New Order song “Crystal”. studio albums which the band have released include Hot Fuss (2004), Sam’s Town (2006) and Day & Age (2008)and Battle Born. They have also released one compilation album, Sawdust (2007) and one live album and DVD titled Live from the Royal Albert Hall (2009). The Killers are set to release their fifth album, entitled Wonderful Wonderful, on September 20, 2017. The lead single, “The Man”, was released on June 14, 2017. The Killers have also performed at T in the Park, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury Festival, V Festival and the Isle of Wight Festival.  So far the band has sold over 6 million albums in the United States, over 5 million albums in the United Kingdom, and over 15 million worldwide and have also performed at T in the Park, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury Festival, V Festival, the 2013 Isle of Wight Festival and the 2017 Glastonbury Festival. They also headlined the 2017 Australian Football League (AFL)Grand Final entertainment show on September 30, 2017.

Charlie Clouser (Nine Inch Nails)

American singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer Charlie Clouser was born 28th June 1963. He is an American keyboardist, composer, record producer, and remixer and was a member of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from 1994–2000, and is a composer for film and television. Clouser was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance in 1997.Clouser plays keyboard, synthesizer, theremin, and drums. He also does music programming, engineering, and mixing. He was a member of the band Nine Inch Nails (1994–2000). Before he was in Nine Inch Nails, he was in the alternative band Burning Retna with former L.A. Guns guitarist Mick Cripps and fellow Nothing Records employee Sean Beavan. Clouser also was a member of the band 9 Ways to Sunday, which released a self-titled album in 1990.

Clouser has remixed artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein and Meat Beat Manifesto.In 2004, Clouser produced the Helmet album Size Matters. Consisting mainly of collaborations between Clouser and Page Hamilton, it was intended to be a Hamilton solo album. The first release from the collaboration, known as Throwing Punches, appeared on a soundtrack in 2003 for the film Underworld, and was credited as a Hamilton track. Clouser created one of FirstCom music’s master series discs, only sold for commercial use, in the late 1990s.Two songs programmed by Clouser were nominated for Grammy Awards in 1997: White Zombie’s “I’m Your Boogie Man” and Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper’s “Hands of Death (Burn Baby Burn),” the latter of which Clouser also co-wrote and mixed.

He alsoworked with Trent Reznor on the soundtrack of Natural Born Killers, helping record and produce a new version of “Something I Can Never Have,” the original version of which appeared on Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine album. Clouser’s remix of Zombie’s “Dragula” can be found on The Matrix soundtrack. Another Zombie track remixed by Clouser, “Reload”, appears on The Matrix Reloaded soundtrack. He produced the unfinished Hamilton project Gandhi and also provided the live synth for Alec Empire’s “Intelligence And Sacrifice” tour in 2001. He appears in the Moog documentary about electronic-music pioneer Robert Moog and composed the song “I Am a Spaceman” for the original soundtrack of that movie.Clouser has also worked as a film and television composer, scoring the Saw series of films, as well as Death Sentence (2007), Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), Dead Silence (2007), and Deepwater (2005).He composed the ending theme “Hello Zepp” for Saw. On television, he was the composer for the TV series Las Vegas (NBC), Fastlane (Fox), and NUMB3RS (CBS) as well as American Horror Story.

Clint Boon (Inspiral Carpets)

Famous for being the keyboards player (and sometimes vocalist) with alternative rock band Inspiral Carpets, the English musician and D.J.Clint Boon was born 28th June 1959. The Inspiral Carpets were formed by Graham Lambert and Stephen Holt in 1983. The band is named after a clothing shop on their Oldham estate. Their sound is based around psychedelic keyboards and guitars. They came to prominence, alongside bands like The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, in the ‘Madchester’ scene of the late 1980s. After a flexi-disc featuring Garage Full Of Flowers given free with Manchester’s Debris magazine in 1987, followed by the Cow cassette, their first release proper, the 1988 Planecrash EP on the Playtime label received much airplay from Radio 1 DJ John Peel, who asked the band to record a session for his show. At the time of their initial success, the band earned some notoriety for their squiggly-eyed cow T-shirts; They reworked their single “Find Out Why” as the theme tune to the 8:15 from Manchester.

As their popularity grew, Playtime’s distributor Red Rhino Records went bust, leading the band to form their own label, Cow Records in March 1989, the labels’ first release being the Trainsurfing EP. After a handful of singles on their own label, the last of which, “Move”, came close to the UK top 40, they signed a deal with Mute Records, and immediately had their first top 40 chart success in the UK with “This Is How It Feels”, which is a song about unemployment and touches on themes of domestic violence. The single reached #14 in the singles chart, and debut album Life reached #2 in the album chart, both in 1990.The following year’s the band released The Beast Inside featuring The songs “Caravan” and “Please be Cruel”. The band gained astrong following in Portugal, Germany, and Argentina, with the band’s 1992 album Revenge of the Goldfish featured the songs She comes in the Fall and Dragging me Down. The next album, Devil Hopping (1994) reached number 10 in the album chart, with “Saturn 5″ and “I Want You” giving them top 20 hits, from that LP. (The latter’s single version featured Mark E. Smith). Next single “Uniform” and sadly in 1995, after the release of a Singles collection, the band were dropped by Mute, and split up soon after.

After the Inspiral Carpets split in 1995, Boon went on to form The Clint Boon Experience releasing two albums under this name – The Compact Guide to Pop Music and Space Travel (1999), and Life in Transition (2000). In this year the band released the single “Do What You Do (Earworm Song)”, which featured Fran Healy, the lead singer of the band Travis. Boon made a cameo appearance on the 2002 film, 24 Hour Party People as a train conductor. He lso worked with Cosgrove Hall providing voice-overs and music for the Engie Benjy cartoon series. Boon has his own record label, ‘Booney Tunes’, signing artists such as Elaine Palmer, and has also been a regular DJ at a number of nightclubs around England, and in Wrexham, North Wales. He rejoined the Inspiral Carpets for two sell-out tours in 2002 and 2003. Boon is still a presenter on Xfm Manchester. He hosts the afternoon show from Monday to Friday between 2pm and 5pm, and often covers Xposure. In 2008 Boon had his portrait painted by Manchester based artist Adam Hayley. The portrait represents many aspects of Boon’s life and incorporates references to his Manchester roots. The portrait was unveiled at Manchester’s Mooch Art Gallery on Oldham Street, in the Northern Quarter.

Peter Paul Rubens

German born Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens was Born 28th June 1577. He was a prolific artist and was a proponent of extravagant Baroque style that emphasised movement, colour, and sensuality, he was known for his Counter Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintingso mythological and allegorial sujects.In addition to running a studio in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV, King of Spain, and Charles I, King of England. Religion figured prominently in much of his work and Rubens later became one of the leading voices of the Catholic Counter-Reformation style of painting .In Antwerp, Rubens studied Latin and classical literature. By fourteen he began his artistic apprenticeship with Tobias Verhaeght. Subsequently, he studied under two of the city’s leading painters, Adam van Noort and Otto van een. his earliest training involved copying woodcuts by Hans Holbein the Younger and Marcantonio Raimondi’s engravings. Rubens completed his education in 1598, and entered the Guild of St. Luke as an independent master. In 1600, Rubens travelled to Venice, Italy, where he saw paintings by Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto, before settling in Mantua at the court of Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga. The style of Veronese and Tintoretto had an immediate effect on Rubens’s painting, and his later, mature style was profoundly influenced by Titian.

Rubens

With financial support from the Duke, Rubens travelled to Rome via Florence in 1601. There, he studied classical Greek and Roman art and copied works of the Italian masters, the Hellenistic sculpture Laocoön and his Sons was especially influential on him, as was the art of Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio. He later made a copy of Caravaggio’s Entombment of Christ. He recommended that his patron, the Duke of Mantua, purchase The Death of the Virgin and was instrumental in the acquisition of The Madonna of the Rosary for the Dominican church in Antwerp. Whilst invRome, Rubens completed his first altarpiece commission, St. Helena with the True Cross for the Roman church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. Rubens travelled to Spain on a diplomatic mission in 1603, delivering gifts from the Gonzagas to the court of Philip III. In Spain he studied the extensive collections of Raphael and Titian that had been collected by Philip II. He also painted an equestrian portrait of the Duke of Lerma during his stay . He returned to Italy in 1604, and stayed for the next four years, first in Mantua and then in Genoa and Rome. In Genoa, Rubens painted numerous portraits, such as the Marchesa Brigida Spinola-Doria and the portrait of Maria di Antonio Serra Pallavicini. He also began a book illustrating the palaces in the city, which was published in 1622 as Palazzi di Genova.

Rubens returned to Antwerp in 1608 during a period of renewed prosperity in the city, he was appointed as court painter by Albert VII, Archduke of Austria and Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain, sovereigns of the Low Countries. In 1610, Rubens moved into a new house and studio that he designed. Now the Rubenshuis Museum, in the centre of Antwerp, it accommodated his workshop and made the most of his extensive collection of paintings, and his personal art collection and library,. During this time he created.Altarpieces such as The Raising of the Cross (1610) and The Descent from the Cross (1611–1614) for the Cathedral of Our Lady which were particularly important in establishing Rubens as Flanders’ leading painter . The Raising of the Cross also demonstrates the artist’s synthesis of Tintoretto’s Crucifixion for the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice, Michelangelo’s dynamic figures, and Rubens’s own personal style. The Spanish Habsburg rulers also entrusted Rubens with a number of diplomatic missions, Between 1627 and 1630, Rubens’s diplomatic career was particularly active, and he moved between the courts of Spain and England in an attempt to bring peace between the Spanish Netherlands and the United Provinces. He also made several trips to the northern Netherlands as both an artist and a diplomat. It was during this period that Rubens was twice knighted, first by Philip IV of Spain in 1624, and then by Charles I of England in 1630. He was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree fromCambridge University in 1629.

In 1621, the Queen Mother of France, Marie de’ Medici, commissioned Rubens to paint two large allegorical cycles celebrating her life and the life of her late husband, Henry IV, for the Luxembourg Palace in Paris. The Marie de’ Medici cycle was installed in 1625 Rubens’s reputation with collectors and nobility grew during this decade, and his workshop continued to paint monumental paintings for local patrons in Antwerp. Such as The Assumption of the Virgin Mary for the Cathedral of Antwerp. Rubens’s last decade was spent in and around Antwerp. He continued to paint Major works for foreign patrons stsuch as the ceiling paintings for the Banqueting House at Inigo Jones’s Palace of Whitehall. In 1630, he married 16-year-old Hélène Fourment who inspired the voluptuous figures in many of his paintings from the 1630s, including The Feast of Venus, The Three Graces and The Judgment of Paris . In an intimate portrait of her, Hélène Fourment in a Fur Wrap, also known as Het Pelsken Rubens’s wife is even partially modelled after classical sculptures of the Venus Pudica, such as theMedici Venus. In 1635, Rubens bought an estate outside of Antwerp, the Steen, where he spent much of his time. Landscapes, such as his Château de Steen with Hunter and Farmers Returning from the Fields, reflect the more personal nature of many of his later works. He also drew upon Pieter Bruegel the Elder for inspiration in later works like Flemish Kermis.

Sadly Rubens died 30 May 1640 from heart failure, brought on by his chronic gout. He was interred in Saint Jacob’s church, Antwerp. The artist had eight children, three with Isabella and five with Hélène; his youngest child was born eight months after his death. Rubens was a prolific artist. His commissioned works were mostly religious subjects, “history” paintings, which included mythological subjects, and hunt scenes. He painted portraits, especially of friends, and self-portraits, and in later life painted several landscapes. Rubens designed tapestries and prints, as well as his own house. He also oversaw the ephemeral decorations of the Joyous Entry into Antwerp by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand in 1635. His drawings are mostly extremely forceful but not detailed; he also made great use of oil sketches as preparatory studies. He was one of the last major artists to make consistent use of wooden panels as a support medium, even for very large works, but he used canvas as well, especially when the work needed to be sent a long distance. For altarpieces he sometimes painted on slate to reduce reflection problems. His fondness of painting full-figured women gave rise to the terms ‘Rubensian’ or ‘Rubenesque’ for plus-sized women.Rubens was a great admirer of Leonardo da Vinci’s work. Using an engraving done 50 years after Leonardo started his project on the Battle of Anghiari, Rubens did a masterly drawing of the Battle which is now in the Louvre in Paris.

Chris Squire (YES,XYZ)

Chris Squire, the bass player, vocalist and Founding member with the Progressive Rock bands YES, XYZ and Conspiracy sadly died 27 June 2015. He was Born 4 March 1948 and grew up in central London, where, in 1964, he was suspended from school for having long hair. During the 1960’s he played in a few bands, including the Selfs, the Syn, and Mabel Greer’s Toyshop and it was through that last band that he met Jon Anderson. The two bonded over Simon and Garfunkel’s music. They formed Yes in 1968 and released their debut album in 1969.

Yes went on to achieve worldwide success with their progressive music, mystical lyrics, elaborate album art, live stage sets and symphonic style of rock music. They are regarded as one of the pioneers of the progressive genre. They were Formed in 1968 by Jon Anderson and Bill Bruford and released two albums together but began to enjoy success after the release of The Yes Album and Fragile, which featured new arrivals Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. They achieved further success with the albums Close to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans. Wakeman was replaced by Patrick Moraz, who played on Relayer (1974). Wakeman returned on Going for the One (1977) and Tormato (1978). Anderson and Wakeman left the group due to musical differences amongst the band in 1980, and both went on to pursue solo careers. Their replacements, Trevor Horn and Steve Downes, featured on Drama (1980) and its supporting tour before disbanding in 1981. Howe and Downes went to form Asia.

Yes reformed in 1982 after Squire and White were joined by the returning Jon Anderson and Tony Kaye, with the addition of guitarist Trevor Rabin. They adopted a pop rock sound and released the number one single “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and 90125 (1983), their best-selling album to date, followed by Big Generator (1987). Anderson left and co-formed the side project Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe with the named members in 1989. Following a legal battle amongst both Yes groups, they formed an eight-man band to perform on Union (1991) and its supporting tour. Rabin and Kaye featured on Talk (1994) before leaving, while Wakeman and Howe returned with Keys to Ascension (1996) and Keys to Ascension 2 (1997). Wakeman was then replaced by Igor Khoroshev, who was featured on Open Your Eyes (1997) and The Ladder (1999) along with guitarist Billy Sherwood. The release of Magnification (2001) marked the first album since 1970 to feature an orchestra. Squire also joined the short-lived supergroup XYZ, (ex-Yes, Zeppelin) which featured Squire, Yes’ Alan White, and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page.

In 2002, Wakeman returned for the band’s 35th anniversary tour. The band ceased to tour in 2004, partly due to health concerns regarding Anderson and Wakeman. Following a hiatus, Yes restarted in 2008 with keyboardist Oliver Wakeman and singer Benoît David. After the release of Fly from Here (2011), which saw Downes returning on keyboards, David was replaced by Jon Davison, lead singer of progressive rock band Glass Hammer, on vocals. Sadly though Chris Squire, died 27 June 2015 at the age of 67, following his battle with Acute Erythroid Leukemia, with which he was diagnosed in 2015. He had been a member of the band’s current line-up alongside singer Jon Davison, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, and keyboardist Geoff Downes and was the longest serving member of the band. The band’s first show of their tour with Toto on 7 August 2015 marked the first Yes concert ever performed without Squire. From 1991 to 2000, Rickenbacker produced a limited edition signature model bass in his name, the 4001CS. Squire released two solo albums, Fish Out of Water (1975) and Chris Squire’s Swiss Choir (2007), a Christmas album. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Yes in 2017.

J.J.Abrams

American film and television director, producer, writer, author and composer, Jeffrey Jacob “J. J.” Abrams was born June 27, 1966. He is an best known for his work in the genres of action, drama, and science fiction. Abrams wrote and/or produced feature films such as Regarding Henry (1991), Forever Young (1992), Armageddon (1998), and Cloverfield (2008). He created or co-created a number of TV drama series, including Felicity (co-creator, 1998–2002), Alias (creator, 2001–2006), and Lost (co-creator, 2004–2010), ” Fringe” (co-creator, 2008 – 2013). His directorial film work includes Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), Mission: Impossible III (2006),Super 8 (2011) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015),

Abrams’ first job in the movie business started when he was 16 when he wrote the music for Don Dohler’s film Nightbeast. During his senior year at college, he teamed with Jill Mazursky to write a feature film treatment. Purchased by Touchstone Pictures, the treatment was the basis for Taking Care of Business, Abrams’ first produced film, which starred Charles Grodin and James Belushi. He followed that up with Regarding Henry, starring Harrison Ford, and Forever Young, starring Mel Gibson. He also co-wrote with Mazursky the script for the comedy Gone Fishin’ starring Joe Pesci and Danny Glover. In 1994, he was part of the “Propellerheads” with Rob Letterman, Loren Soman, and Andy Waisler, a group of Sarah Lawrence alums experimenting with computer animation technology who were contracted by Jeffrey Katzenberg to develop animation for the film Shrek.[5] Abrams worked on the screenplay for the 1998 film Armageddon with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay. That same year, he made his first foray into television with Felicity, which ran for four seasons on The WB Network, serving as the series’ co-creator (with Matt Reeves) and executive producer. He also composed its opening theme music.

Under his production company Bad Robot, which he founded with Bryan Burk in 2001,Abrams created and executive-produced ABC’s Alias and is co-creator (along with Damon Lindelof and Jeffrey Lieber) and executive producer of Lost. He later co-wrote the teleplay for Lost’s third season premiere “A Tale of Two Cities.” As with Felicity, Abrams also composed the opening theme music for Alias and Lost. In 2001, Abrams co-wrote and produced the thriller Joy Ride, and wrote an unproduced screenplay for a fifth Superman film in 2002.[citation needed]In 2006, he served as executive producer of What About Brian and Six Degrees, also on ABC. Abrams directed and wrote the two-part pilot for Lost and remained active producer for the first half of the season. That same year, he made his feature directorial debut in 2006 with Mission: Impossible III, starring Tom Cruise. Abrams spoke at the TED conference in 2007.

In 2008, Abrams produced the monster movie Cloverfield. In 2009, he directed the science fiction film Star Trek, which he produced with Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof. While it was speculated that they would be writing and producing an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series of novels, they publicly stated in November 2009 that they were no longer looking to take on that project. In 2008, Abrams co-created, executive produced, and co-wrote (along with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman) the FOX science fiction series Fringe, for which he also composed the theme music. He was featured in the 2009 MTV Movie Awards 1980s-style digital short “Cool Guys Don’t Look at Explosions”, with Andy Samberg and Will Ferrell, in which he plays a keyboard solo. NBC picked up Abrams’ Undercovers as its first new drama series for the 2010–11 season. However, it was subsequently cancelled by the network in November 2010.

In 2008, it was reported that Abrams purchased the rights to a New York Times article “Mystery on Fifth Avenue” about the renovation of an 8.5 million dollar co-op, a division of property originally owned by E. F. Hutton and Marjorie Merriweather Post, for six figures and was developing a film titled Mystery on Fifth Avenue, with Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot Productions,and comedy writers Maya Forbes and Wally Wolodarsky to write the adaptation. According to the article, a wealthy couple Steven B. Klinsky and Maureen Sherry purchased the apartment in 2003 and live there with their four children. Soon after purchasing the apartment, they hired young architectural designer Eric Clough, who devised an elaborately clever “scavenger hunt” built into the apartment that involved dozens of historical figures, a fictional book and a soundtrack, woven throughout the apartment in puzzles, riddles, secret panels, compartments, and hidden codes, without the couple’s knowledge. The family didn’t discover the embedded mystery until months after moving into the apartment. After Abrams purchased the article, Clough left him an encrypted message in the wall tiles of a Christian Louboutin shoe store he designed in West Hollywood

Abrams also wrote and directed the Paramount science fiction movie Super 8, while co-producing with Steven Spielberg and Bryan Burk; it was released on June 10, 2011. Abrams directed the sequel to Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, in 2013. In 2015 he directed Star Wars: episode VII The Force Awakens leading tO speculation concerning his future with Paramount Pictures, with whom he has released all of his previously directed feature work and which has a first-look deal with his Bad Robot Productions. Paramount vice-chairman Rob Moore stated that Abrams will continue to have a hand in the highly successful Star Trek and Mission: Impossible franchises going forward.Abrams announced at the 2013 D.I.C.E. Conference that Bad Robot has made a deal with Valve Corporation to produce films based on the video game titles Portal and Half-Life.

In 2013, Abrams released a film based on the novel, S., written by Doug Dorst. Abrams’ frequent creative collaborators include writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, composer Michael Giacchino, cinematographers Daniel Mindel and Larry Fong, and editors Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey.