Posted in books

Memory Garden by Rachel Hore

Memory Garden is a gripping and moving story of family secrets by Rachel Hore, the bestselling author of A Week in Paris, and the Richard & Judy Bookclub pick A Place of Secrets. The novel takes place in Lamorna Cove, a picturesque, unspoilt tiny bay in Cornwall’s far west, which A hundred years ago was a favourite haunt of a colony of artist.

It features a character named Melanie Pentreath, who takes a semester off from teaching partly to research local artists from the turn of the 20th century and also to escape the pain of her mother’s death and a broken love affair, and gradually put her life back together. So She rents a former Gardeners cottage in the enchanting but overgrown grounds of Merryn Hall, an estate now falling in disrepair in Lamorna Cove in Cornwall.

Mel embraces her new surroundings and in this idyllic setting Melanie meets her landlord, Patrick Winterton, and helps him restore the garden. Soon they find themselves becoming closer to one another and Melanie starts to believe that her life can be rebuilt.

Then Patrick finds some old paintings in an attic, so he and Mel investigate the identity of the artist. This turns out to be a former housemaid named Pearl Treglown who had unexpected artistic talent but little opportunity to pursue it. Like Pearl, Mel becomes enamoured of a man attached to Merryn Hall: for Mel, it is Patrick, the current owner, with whom she works to restore the Victorian gardens. As Melanie investigates further she discovers that Pearl’s life was an extraordinary tale of illicit passion and thwarted ambition from a century ago, which resonates in their own lives.

Posted in Events

National Holidays an d Events for January 13

National Rubber Ducky Day

National Rubber Ducky Day takes place annually on 13 January

National Peach Melba Day

National Peach Melba Day takes place annually on 13 January Peach Melba is a dessert made from peaches, vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. The date was chosen to commemmorate the invention of Peach Melba on 13 January 1892 or 1893 by the French chef Auguste Escoffier while employed at the Savoy Hotel, London. The dessert was invented to honor the Australian soprano, Nellie Melba. Peach Melba was originally called “Pecheau Cygne” or “Peach Swan” and was presented in a swan-shaped ice sculpture and topped with spun sugar.

Dame Nellie Melba GBE (born Helen Porter Mitchell; 19 May 1861 – 23 February 1931) was an Australian operatic soprano. She became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era and the early 20th century, and was the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician. She took the pseudonym “Melba” from Melbourne, her home town.

Melba studied singing in Melbourne and made a modest success in performances there. After a brief and unsuccessful marriage, she moved to Europe in search of a singing career. Failing to find engagements in London in 1886, she studied in Paris and soon made a great success there and in Brussels. Returning to London she quickly established herself as the leading lyric soprano at Covent Garden from 1888. She soon achieved further success in Paris and elsewhere in Europe, and later at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, debuting there in 1893. Her repertoire was small; in her whole career she sang no more than 25 roles and was closely identified with only ten. She was known for her performances in French and Italian opera, but sang little German opera.

During the First World War, Melba raised large sums for war charities. She returned to Australia frequently during the 20th century, singing in opera and concerts, and had a house built for her near Melbourne. She was active in the teaching of singing at the Melbourne Conservatorium. Melba continued to sing until the last months of her life and made a large number of “farewell” appearances. Her death, in Australia, was news across the English-speaking world, and her funeral was a major national event. The Australian $100 note features her image.

Public Radio Broadcasting Day

Public Radio Broadcasting Day takes place annually on 13 January to commemorate the occasion of The first public radio broadcast in history, which took place on January 13, 1910, when a live opera performance of Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci was broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera House. It was performed by such opera stars as Emmy Destin, Riccardo Martin and Enrico Caruso. Not many people were able to actually pick up the broadcast, which was heard only in the De Forest Radio Laboratory, on board ships in New York Harbor, and in large hotels on Times Square.

Posted in books

James Joyce

Most famous for writing the novel Ulysses, the Author James Joyce tragically died 13 January 1941. He was born On 2 February 1882, in Rathgar, Dublin, Ireland. Joyce’s father was John Stanislaus Joyce and his mother was Mary Jane “May” Murray. He was the eldest of ten surviving siblings; two died of typhoid. James was baptised according to the Rites of the Catholic Church in the nearby St Joseph’s Church in Terenure on 5 February 1882 by Rev. John O’Mulloy. Joyce’s godparents were Philip and Ellen McCann. In 1887, his father was appointed rate collector by Dublin Corporation; the family subsequently moved to the fashionable adjacent small town of Bray, 12 miles (19 km) from Dublin. Around this time Joyce was attacked by a dog, leading to his lifelong cynophobia. He suffered from astraphobia; a superstitious aunt had described thunderstorms as a sign of God’s wrath.

In 1891 Joyce wrote a poem on the death of Charles Stewart Parnell. His father was angry at the treatment of Parnell by the Catholic Church, the Irish Home Rule Party and the British Liberal Party and the resulting collaborative failure to secure Home Rule for Ireland. The Irish Party had dropped Parnell from leadership. But the Vatican’s role in allying with the British Conservative Party to prevent Home Rule left a lasting impression on the young Joyce. The elder Joyce had the poem printed and even sent a part to the Vatican Library. In 1891 John Joyce was entered in Stubbs’ Gazette (a publisher of bankruptcies) and suspended from work. In 1893, John Joyce was dismissed with a pension, beginning the family’s slide into poverty caused mainly by his drinking and financial mismanagement.

Joyce Enrolled at Clongowes Wood College, a Jesuit boarding school near Clane, County Kildare, in 1888 but had to leave in 1892 when his father could no longer pay the fees. Joyce then studied at home and briefly at the Christian Brothers O’Connell School on North Richmond Street, Dublin, before he was offered a place in the Jesuits’ Dublin school, Belvedere College, in 1893. In 1895, Joyce was elected to join the Sodality of Our Lady by his peers at Belvedere. In 1898 Joyce enrolled at the recently established University College Dublin (UCD) studying English, French and Italian. He became active in theatrical and literary circles in the city. In 1900 his laudatory review of Henrik Ibsen’s When We Dead Awaken was published in The Fortnightly Review. Joyce also wrote a number of other articles and at least two plays- Many of the friends he made at University College Dublin appeared as characters in Joyce’s works. His closest colleagues included, Tom Kettle, Francis Sheehy-Skeffington and Oliver St. John Gogarty. Joyce was first introduced to the Irish public by Arthur Griffith in his newspaper, United Irishman, in November 1901. Joyce had written an article on the Irish Literary Theatre and had it printed and distributed locally. Griffith himself wrote a piece decrying the censorship of the student James Joyce.

After graduating from UCD in 1902, Joyce left for Paris to study medicine, but he soon abandoned this. However Joyce had already failed to pass chemistry in English in Dublin, although Joyce claimed ill health as the problem and wrote home that he was unwell and complained about the cold weather. Joyce returned to Ireland When his mother was diagnosed with cancer and She finally passed into a coma and died on 13 August, After her death he continued to drink heavily, and conditions at home grew quite appalling. He scraped together a living reviewing books, teaching, and singing—he was an accomplished tenor, and won the bronze medal in the 1904 Feis Ceoil.

In 1904 Joyce attempted to publish A Portrait of the Artist, an essay-story dealing with aesthetics, only to have it rejected by the free-thinking magazine Dana. He decided, on his twenty-second birthday, to revise the story into a novel he called Stephen Hero. It was a fictional rendering of Joyce’s youth, but he eventually grew frustrated and abandoned it. However years later, in Trieste, Joyce completely rewrote it as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The unfinished Stephen Hero was published after his death. In 1904 he also met Nora Barnacle, a young woman from Galway city who was working as a chambermaid. The time when they first dated provides the date for the action of Ulysses (as “Bloomsday”). Joyce remained in Dublin drinking heavily and After one such drinking binge, he got into a fight over a misunderstanding with a man in St Stephen’s Green, but was rescued by a minor acquaintance of his father, Alfred H. Hunter, Who served as the inspiration for Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses. He also took up with the medical student Oliver St. John Gogarty, who informed the character for Buck Mulligan in Ulysses. After six nights in the Martello Tower that Gogarty was renting in Sandycove, he left following an altercation with Dermot Chenevix Trench (Haines in Ulysses), who fired a pistol at some pans hanging directly over Joyce’s bed. Joyce returned to Dublin to stay with relatives for the night and left Ireland to live on the continent shortly afterwards.

Joyce and Nora went into self-imposed exile, moving first to Zurich in Switzerland, where he taught English at the Berlitz Language School. The director of the school sent Joyce on to Trieste, which was then part of Austria-Hungary (until the First World War), and is today part of Italy, where with the help of Almidano Artifoni, director of the Trieste Berlitz School, he became a teacher in Pola, Croatia Where between 1904 and 1905 he taught English mainly to Austro-Hungarian naval officers. With Artifoni’s help, he moved back to Trieste and began teaching English for the next ten years. In 1905 Nora gave birth to their first child, George (known as Giorgio). Joyce persuaded his brother, Stanislaus, to join him in Trieste, as a School Teacher.

Unfortunately Stanislaus and Joyce had strained relations while they lived together in Trieste, arguing about Joyce’s drinking habits and frivolity with money. Joyce also became frustrated with life in Trieste and moved to Rome in late 1906, working as a bank clerk. However He disliked Rome and returned to Trieste in early 1907. His daughter Lucia was born later that year. Joyce returned to Dublin in mid-1909 with George, to visit his father and work on getting Dubliners published. He also visited Nora’s family in Galway. He decided to take one of his sisters, Eva, back to Trieste with him to help Nora run the home. He spent a month in Trieste before returning to Dublin as a representative of some cinema owners and businessmen from Trieste. With their backing he launched Ireland’s first cinema, the Volta Cinematograph. He returned to Trieste in 1910 accompanied by another sister, Eileen, Eva became homesick for Dublin and returned there a few years later, but Eileen spent the rest of her life on the continent, eventually marrying Czech bank cashier Frantisek Schaurek. Joyce returned to Dublin in 1912 to solve his altercation with Dublin publisher George Roberts over the publication of Dubliners and wrote the poem “Gas from a Burner”, an invective against Roberts shortly afterwards. After this trip, he never again came closer to Dublin than London, despite many pleas from his father and invitations from fellow Irish writer William Butler Yeats. One of his students in Trieste was Ettore Schmitz, better known by the pseudonym Italo Svevo. They met in 1907 becoming friends. Schmitz was a Catholic of Jewish origin and was another inspiration for Leopold Bloom.

Sadly While living in Trieste, Joyce started having eye problems which required over a dozen surgical operations. Joyce concocted a number of money-making schemes, including an attempt to become a cinema magnate in Dublin and importing Irish tweed to Trieste. His income came from teaching at the Berlitz school Or teaching private students. In 1915, after most of his students in Trieste were conscripted to fight in the First World War, Joyce moved to Zurich. Two influential private students, Baron Ambrogio Ralli and Count Francesco Sordina, petitioned officials for an exit permit for the Joyces, who in turn agreed not to take any action against the emperor of Austria-Hungary during the war. In 1924 Joyce decided to finish Ulysses in Paris, delighted to find that he was gradually gaining fame as an avant-garde writer. A further grant from Miss Shaw Weaver meant he could devote himself full-time to writing And meet with other local literary figures

Unfortunately Joyce’s eyes gradually got worse and he often wore an eyepatch. He was treated by Dr Louis Borsch in Paris, undergoing nine operations before Borsch’s death in 1929. Throughout the 1930s he travelled frequently to Switzerland for eye surgeries and for treatments for his daughter Lucia, who, according to the Joyces, suffered from schizophrenia. Lucia was analysed by Carl Jung at the time, who after reading Ulysses is said to have concluded that her father had schizophrenia. In Paris, Maria and Eugene Jolas nursed Joyce during his long years of writing Finnegans Wake and published serially various sections of Finnegans Wake under the title Work in Progress. In their literary magazine transition, the Jolases Joyce returned to Zurich in late 1940, fleeing the Nazi occupation of France.

Joyce’s had a controversial relationship with religion, he lapsed from Catholicism, rejecting the whole social order, recognised virtues, classes of life and religious doctrines, and hating it most fervently. This had a financial impact but he retained his pride. When the arrangements for Joyce’s burial were being made, a Catholic priest offered a religious service, which Joyce’s wife Nora declined. However, Leonard Strong, William T. Noon, Robert Boyle and others have argued that Joyce, later in life, reconciled with the faith he rejected earlier in life and that his parting with the faith was succeeded by a not so obvious reunion, and that Ulysses and Finnegans Wake are essentially Catholic expressions. Although Joyce did attend Catholic Mass and Orthodox Sacred Liturgy, especially during Holy Week, purportedly for aesthetic reasons. Umberto Eco compares Joyce to the ancient episcopi vagantes (wandering bishops) in the Middle Ages. They left a discipline, not a cultural heritage or a way of thinking. Like them, the writer retains the sense of blasphemy held as a liturgical ritual. Some argue that Joyce “remained a Catholic intellectual if not a believer” since his thinking remained influenced by his cultural background, even though he lived apart from that culture. His relationship with religion was complex and not easily understood. He acknowledged the debt he owed to his early Jesuit training stating thathe had ‘learnt to arrange things in such a way that they become easy to survey and to judge.’

In 1941, Joyce underwent surgery in Zurich for a perforated ulcer. He fell into a coma the following day. He awoke at 2 a.m. on 13 January 1941, and asked a nurse to call his wife and son, before losing consciousness again. They were still en route when he died 15 minutes later, less than a month short of his 59th birthday. His body was interred in the Fluntern Cemetery, Zurich but was moved in 1966 to a more prominent “honour grave,” with a seated portrait statue by American artist Milton Hebald nearby. Swiss tenor Max Meili sang Addio terra, addio cielo from Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo at the burial service. Although two senior Irish diplomats were in Switzerland at the time, neither attended Joyce’s funeral, and the Irish government later declined Nora’s offer to permit the repatriation of Joyce’s remains. Nora, whom he had married in 1931, survived him by 10 years. She is buried by his side, as is their son Giorgio, who died in 1976.

Posted in books, films & DVD, Television

Michael Bond CBE

Most famous for writing the “Paddington Bear” stories, the English author Michael Bond CBE was born 13 January 1926 In Newbury and raised in Reading, Berkshire, where his visits to Reading Station to watch the Cornish Riviera Express go steaming through started a love of trains. He was educated at Presentation College, in Reading, Berkshire. He left education aged fourteen, despite his parents’ wishes for him to go to university.

During World War II he worked in a solicitor’s office for a year and then as an engineer’s assistant for the BBC. In February 1943, Michael Bond survived an air raid in Reading. The building in which he was working collapsed under him, killing 41 people and injuring many more. Shortly afterwards he volunteered for aircrew service in the Royal Air Force as a 17-year-old but he was discharged after suffering from acute air sickness. He then served in the Middlesex Regiment of the British Army until 1947.

Bond began writing in 1945 while stationed with the army in Cairo, and sold his first short story to the magazine London Opinion. In 1958, after producing a number of plays and short stories and while working as a BBC television cameraman (where he worked on Blue Peter for a time), his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published. This was the start of Bond’s series of books recounting the tales of Paddington Bear, a bear from “darkest Peru”, whose Aunt Lucy sends him to the United Kingdom, carrying a jar of marmalade. In the first book the Brown family find the bear at Paddington Station, and adopt him, naming the bear after the railway station. By 1965, Bond was able to give up his BBC job to work full-time as a writer. Paddington’s adventures have sold over 35 million books, have been published in nearly twenty countries, in over forty languages, and have inspired pop bands, race horses, plays, hot air balloons, a movie and television series. Bond stated in 2007 that he did not plan to continue the adventures of Paddington Bear in further volumes, However, in April 2014 a new book Love From Paddington, was published. A film, Paddington (2014), based on the books, was also made, in which Bond had a credited cameo as the Kindly Gentleman.

Bond also wrote another series of children’s books, the adventures of a guinea pig named Olga da Polga, named after the Bond family’s pet, as well as the animated BBC television series The Herbs (1968). Bond also wrote culinary mystery stories for adults, featuring Monsieur Pamplemousse and his faithful bloodhound, Pommes Frites. Bond also wrote a Reflection on the Passing of the Years shortly after his 90th birthday. The piece was read by David Attenborough, who also turned 90 in 2016, at the national service of thanksgiving to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday at St Paul’s Cathedral in June 2016.

More than 35 million Paddington books have sold around the world and the characters have also featured in film and on television. Bond was made a CBE in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours. His first book was published in 1958, and his last in 2015, a span of nearly 60 years. In 1997 Bondwas made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to literature in 1997, and Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours. On 6 July 2007 the University of Reading awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Letters. Sadly Michael Bond died 27 June 2017 however his Paddington Bear books remains popular.

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Trevor Rabin (Yes)

Musician Songwriter and Film composer Trevor Charles Rabin was born 13 January 1954 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was Educated at Parktown Boys’ High School in Johannesburg, and took formal piano training before discovering the guitar at age 12. When he was 13 He joined one of his first bands, The Other, and His parents encouraged his talents toward rock music, although Rabin  maintained an interest in classical music throughout his career. Rabin also briefly studied orchestration at the University of Johannesburg and trained to be a conductor;he later arranged and conducted for many artists in South Africa.Rabin’s early influences included Arnold Schoenberg, Tchaikovsky, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. He also dabbled with progressive and heavy rock with his first band, The Conglomeration, as well as joining the prominent anti-apartheid rock band Freedom’s Children and became a session guitarist and bassist, playing with many jazz bands in South Africa.

Rabin formed his first major recording group, Rabbitt, along with Neil Cloud (drums), Ronnie Robot (bass guitar), and Duncan Faure (keyboards, guitar, vocals). Rabbitt evolved from The Conglomeration. Gaining popularity in 1975 after appearing at Johannesburg’s “Take It Easy” club. Their first single, released in 1972, was a cover of Jethro Tull’s “Locomotive Breath” Followed by their debut album, Boys Will Be Boys in 1975. Rabbitt’s second album, A Croak and a Grunt in the Night, was released in 1977. Rabin went on to win a South African Sarie music award and won a Sarie for Best Contemporary Music Artist in 1976 and 1977.Rabin left Rabbitt who went on to record the album, Rock Rabbitt without Rabin before disbanding in 1978.

Rabin recorded his first solo album Beginnings in 1977 & also fronted various disco-oriented studio projects, including Disco Rock Machine, which released two albums Time To Love and Disco Rock Machine 2, The Tee Cee’s and Slang, acting as producer, arranger, songwriter, guitarist and keyboard player. Rabin also began working as a producer and released the album Wolf, co-produced with Ray Davies of The Kinks in 1981 with contributions from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band members Chris Thompson and Manfred Mann In 1982 Rabin auditioned with the prog-rock supergroup Asia and considered joining a proposed supergroup with future Asia members John Wetton and Carl Palmer and also ex-Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman.

Rabin then met bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White, longtime members of The band Yes, and soon Rabin, Squire and White began collaborating under the name Cinema, they were later joined by original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye to complement their live performances and Trevor Horn. Rabin had written several songs for what became 90125 including “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. Squire then met longtime Yes vocalist Jon Anderson inLos Angeles and Anderson joined as vocalist. Both “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and “Leave It” became major hits. Yes also received a Grammy award in 1984 for the instrumental “Cinema” and toured Europe and America. Rabin contributed his acoustic guitar solo, “Solly’s Beard” and played on Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s debut album Welcome to the Pleasuredome.

In late 1985, Yes began recording its next album with Trevor Horn, however personal differences among Anderson, Squire and Horn caused friction. Eventually, Rabin assumed control of the project, with Horn resigning as producer well before recording was complete. Rough tape demos have emerged with Trevor Rabin singing lead vocals on “Final Eyes” and “Rhythm of Love.” Yes’s next album Big Generator emerged in late 1987, with songs “Love Will Find a Way” Final Eyes “Shoot High,Aim Low” and “Rhythm of Love.” Anderson left Yes and formed Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. Rabin also completed his fourth solo album “Can’t Look Away” released in 1989. Tcontaining the anti-apartheid ballad “Sorrow (Your Heart)” & “Something to Hold on To”, Which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Short Form Music Video and topped the AOR charts for two weeks. Trevor Rabin toured with drummer Lou Molino III, fretless bassist Jim Simmons and keyboardist-composer Mark Mancina on the Can’t Look Away tour which was recorded as 2003’s Live in LA, and featured interpretations of ’80s Yes material, as well as highlights from his Wolf album. Rabin submitted three songs to Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe’s second album “Lift Me Up”, “Saving My Heart” and “Miracle of Life”.

Both Yes line-ups worked on the album Union separately and Rabin wrote the songs”Lift Me Up” and “Saving My Heart. Sadly Both Steve Howe and Bill Bruford left, then Wakeman. Trevor Rabin produced Yes’s next album Talk, featuring the songs “Endless Dream”,”The Calling” and “Walls” Which was a collaboration between Rabin and Roger Hodgson, (Supertramp). However Rabin left Yes after the tour. He next collaborated with Wakeman, on the song “Never is a Long, Long Time,” from Wakeman’s album Return to the Centre of the Earth in 1999, he has also composed many soundtracks and may be working with Anderson and Wakeman on a new Anderson-Wakeman-Rabin album. In 1996, Rabin performed Yes and Rabbitt songs during the Prince’s Trust Concert in South Africa and also released demo versions of pre-90125 Yes compositions and solo work, entitled 90124, as well as Live in LA, recorded at the Roxy in Los Angeles in late 1989. In 2004 Rabin also performed in aid of the Prince’s Trust with Yes at the Wembley Arena in London.

Trevor Rabin has scored over three dozen films which include: Bad Company, Con Air, Homegrown, Armageddon, Jack Frost (in which Rabin appeared onscreen in two scenes), Deep Blue Sea, Gone in 60 Seconds, Remember the Titans, The 6th Day, The Banger Sisters, Kangaroo Jack, Bad Boys II, The Great Raid, Exorcist: The Beginning, National Treasure, Coach Carter, Glory Road, Snakes on a Plane, The Glimmer Man, Flyboys, Gridiron Gang, Hot Rod, The Guardian, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Get Smart, Race to Witch Mountain, 12 Rounds, G-Force, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Along with several Grammy nominations and one Grammy win, Trevor Rabin also has received eleven BMI film score awards, and has received a lifetime achievement award from the Temecula Film Festival. His composition “Titans Spirit” from Remember the Titans has been frequently featured in NBC’s closing montage and credits for their Olympics coverage. It was also played following United States President-Elect Barack Obama’s speech upon winning the 2008 US Presidential Election, and served as the backdrop for the ensuing celebration. Rabin also composed the theme for TNT’s coverage of the National Basketball Association in 2009 and the theme for NCAA’s March Madness in 2011.He composed the score for Disney’s Mission: Space attraction at Epcot. In 2011 Rabin was awarded at the 26th Annual ASCAP Film & Television Music Awards in the Top Box Office Films category for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. In 2012 he released the all-instrumental solo album Jacaranda and was presented with the Henry Mancini Award at the 27th Annual ASCAP Film & Television Music Awards in 2012 and is currently working on a new solo album.