Raymond Briggs CBE

English illustrator, cartoonist, graphic novelist and author Raymond Briggs, CBE was born 18 January 1934 in Wimbledon, London, England. He attended Rutlish School, then a grammar school, pursued cartooning from an early age and, despite his father’s attempts to discourage him from this unprofitable pursuit, attended the Wimbledon School of Art from 1949 to 1953 to study painting, and Central School of Art to study typography.

Between 1953 to 1955 he was a conscript in the Royal Corps of Signals at Catterick where he was made a draughtsman. After these two years of National Service, he returned to the study of painting at Slade School of Fine Art at University College, London, graduating in 1957. After briefly pursuing painting, he became a professional illustrator, and soon began working in children’s books. In 1958, he illustrated Peter and the Piskies: Cornish Folk and Fairy Tales, a fairy tale anthology by Ruth Manning-Sanders that was published by Oxford University Press. They would collaborate again for the Hamish Hamilton Book of Magical Beasts (Hamilton, 1966). In 1961, Briggs began teaching illustration part-time at Brighton School of Art, which he continued until 1986. He was a commended runner-up for the 1964 Kate Greenaway Medal (Fee Fi Fo Fum, a collection of nursery rhymes) and won the 1966 Medal for illustrating a Hamilton edition of Mother Goose. According to a retrospective presentation by the librarians, The Mother Goose Treasury “is a collection of 408 traditional and well loved poems and nursery rhymes, illustrated with over 800 colour pictures by a young Raymond Briggs.” Sadly His first wife Jean, who suffered from schizophrenia, tragically died from leukaemia in 1973, only two years after his parents. They did not have any children.

The first three important works that Briggs both wrote and illustrated were in comics format rather than the separate text and illustrations, were Father Christmas (1973) and its sequel Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (1975) featuring a curmudgeonly Father Christmas who complains incessantly about the “blooming snow”. Briggs won his second Greenaway for Father Christmas which was also adapted as a film titled Father Christmas. The third was Fungus the Bogeyman (1977), featuring one day in the life of a working class Bogeyman with the mundane job of scaring human beings.

In 1978 Briggs published The Snowman, an entirely wordless, story which was illustrated with only pencil crayons which earned Briggs a Highly Commended runner-up for his third Greenaway Medal. An American edition was produced by Random House in the same year, for which Briggs won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, picture book category. In 1982, it was adapted by British TV channel Channel 4 as an animated cartoon, which was nominated for the annual “Oscar” and has since been shown every year (except 1984) on British television. On Christmas Eve 2012 the 30th anniversary of the original was marked by the airing of the sequel The Snowman and the Snowdog.

Briggs continued to work in a similar format, but with more adult content, in his next book Gentleman Jim (1980), a sombre look at the working class trials of Jim and Hilda Bloggs, closely based on his parents. When the Wind Blows (1982) confronted the trusting, optimistic Bloggs couple with the horror of nuclear war, and was praised in the British House of Commons for its timeliness and originality. The topic was inspired after Briggs watched a Panorama documentary on nuclear contingency planning, and the dense format of the page was inspired by a Swiss publisher’s miniature version of Father Christmas. This book was turned into a two-handed radio play with Peter Sallis in the male lead role, and subsequently an animated film, featuring John Mills and Peggy Ashcroft. Briggs next story The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman (1984) was a scathing denunciation of the Falklands War. However, Briggs continued to produce humour for children, in works such as the Unlucky Wally series and The Bear.

Briggs won the 1966 and 1973 Kate Greenaway Medals from the British Library Association, recognising the year’s best children’s book illustration by a British subject For the 50th anniversary of the Medal (1955–2005), a panel named Father Christmas (1973) one of the top-ten winning works, which composed the ballot for a public election of the nation’s favourites. Briggs won the 1992 Kurt Maschler Award, or the Emil, both for writing and for illustrating The Man, a short graphic novel featuring a boy and a homunculus. The award annually recognised one British children’s book for integration of text and illustration. In 1993, he was named Children’s Author of the Year by the British Book Awards. His graphic novel Ethel & Ernest, which portrayed his parents’ 41-year marriage, won Best Illustrated Book in the 1999 British Book Awards. In 2016, it was turned into a hand-drawn animated film. In 2012, he was the first person to be inducted into the British Comic Awards Hall of Fame.

In 2014, Briggs received the Phoenix Picture Book Award from the Children’s Literature Association for The Bear (1994). The award committee stated: “With surprising page-turns, felicitous pauses, and pitch-perfect dialogue, Briggs renders the drama and humor of child–adult and child–bear relations, while questioning the nature of imagination and reality. As a picture book presented in graphic novel format, Briggs’s work was ground-breaking when first published and remains cutting edge twenty years later in its creative unity of text and picture.” Briggs was also one of two runner up for theThe biennial Hans Christian Andersen illustration award in 1984. This is conferred by the International Board on Books for Young People and is the highest recognition available to a writer or illustrator of children’s books. He is also a patron of the Association of Illustrators. As of 2010, Briggs lives in a small house in Westmeston, Sussex; because of the clutter and lack of light, he kept a separate home from his long-term partner, Liz, her children and grandchildren. Liz died in October 2015 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Briggs continues to work on writing and illustrating books.

Rudyard Kipling

English short story writer, poet and Novellist Joseph Rudyard Kipling sadly passed away on 18 January 1936 at the age of 70 of a perforated duodenal ulcer two days before the death of King George V. He was born 30 December 1865 in the Bombay Presidency of British India, and was taken by his family to England when he was five years old. Kipling is best known for his works of fiction, including The Jungle Book (a collection of stories which includes “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”), Just So Stories (1902), Kim (1901) (a tale of adventure), many short stories, including “The Man Who Would Be King” (1888); and his poems, including “Mandalay” (1890), “Gunga Din” (1890), “The White Man’s Burden” (1899), and “If—” (1910). In 1891, on the advice of his doctors, Kipling embarked on a sea voyage visiting South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and India. However, he cut short his plans for spending Christmas with his family in India when he heard of Balestier’s sudden death from typhoid fever, and immediately decided to return to London. Before his return, he had used the telegram to propose to and be accepted by Wolcott’s sister Caroline Starr Balestier (1862–1939), called “Carrie”, whom he had met a year earlier, and with whom he had apparently been having an intermittent romance Meanwhile, late in 1891, his collection of short stories of the British in India, Life’s Handicap, was published in London.

Rudyard Kipling married Carrie Balestier in London, in January 1892 During an influenza epidemic, when the undertakers had run out of black horses and the dead had to be content with brown ones.” The wedding was held at All Souls Church, Langham Place. Henry James gave the bride away.In the short span of four years, he produced, in addition to the Jungle Books, a collection of short stories (The Day’s Work), a novel (Captains Courageous), and a profusion of poetry, including the volume The Seven Seas. The collection of Barrack-Room Ballads was issued in March 1892, first published individually for the most part in 1890, and containing his poems “Mandalay” and “Gunga Din”. He especially enjoyed writing the Jungle Books—both masterpieces of imaginative writing—and enjoyed, too, corresponding with the many children who wrote to him about them.The writing life in naulakha was occasionally interrupted by visitors, including his father, who visited soon after his retirement in 1893 and British writer Arthur Conan Doyle, who brought his golf-clubs, stayed for two days, and gave Kipling an extended golf lesson.

Kipling loved the outdoors not least of whose marvels in Vermont was the turning of the leaves each fall. He described this moment in a letter: “A littlemaple began it, flaming blood-red of a sudden where he stood against the dark green of a pine-belt. Next morning there was an answering signal from the swamp where thesumacs grow. Three days later, the hill-sides as fast as the eye could range were afire, and the roads paved, with crimson and gold. Then a wet wind blew, and ruined all the uniforms of that gorgeous army; and the oaks, who had held themselves in reserve, buckled on their dull and bronzed cuirasses and stood it out stiffly to the last blown leaf, till nothing remained but pencil-shadings of bare boughs, and one could see into the most private heart of the woods.

He also became involved in the debate over the British response to the rise in German naval power known as the Tirpitz Plan to build a fleet to challenge the Royal Navy. On a visit to the United States in 1899, Kipling and Josephine developed pneumonia, from which she eventually died. Kipling began collecting material for another of his children’s classics, Just So Stories for Little Children. That work was published in 1902, the year after Kim was first issued. The first decade of the 20th century saw Kipling at the height of his popularity. In 1906 he wrote the song ”Land of our Birth, We Pledge to Thee”. Kipling wrote two science fiction short stories, With the Night Mail (1905) and As Easy As A. B. C (1912), both set in the 21st century in Kipling’s Aerial Board of Controluniverse. These read like modern hard science fiction and introduced the literary technique known as indirect exposition, which would later become one of Heinlein’s trademarks. In 1907 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and Kipling was the first English-language recipient. At the award ceremony in Stockholm on 10 December 1907, the publication of two connected poetry and story collections: Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906), andRewards and Fairies (1910). The latter contained the poem “If Exultation and triumph was what Kipling had in mind as he actively encouraged his young son to go to war.

 Kipling’s son John tragically died in the First World War, at the Battle of Loos in September 1915, at age 18. John had initially wanted to join the Royal Navy, but having had his application turned down after a failed medical examination due to poor eyesight, he opted to apply for military service as an officer. But again, his eyesight was an issue during the medical examination. In fact, he tried twice to enlist, but was rejected. His father had been lifelong friends with Lord Roberts, commander-in-chief of the British Army, and colonel of the Irish Guards, and at Rudyard’s request, John was accepted into the Irish Guards. He was sent to Loos two days into the battle in a reinforcement contingent. He was last seen stumbling through the mud blindly, screaming in agony after an exploding shell ripped his face apart. A body identified as his was not found until 1992, although that identification has been challenged.At the beginning of World War I, like many other writers, Kipling wrote pamphlets and poems which enthusiastically supported the UK’s war aims of restoring Belgium after that kingdom had been occupied by Germany together with more generalised statements that Britain was standing up for the cause of good.

In September 1914, Kipling was asked by the British government to write propaganda, an offer that he immediately accepted. Kipling’s pamphlets and stories were very popular with the British people during the war with his major themes being glorifying the British military as the place for heroic men to be, German atrocities against Belgian civilians and the stories of women being brutalized by a horrific war unleashed by Germany, yet surviving and triumphing in spite of their suffering. Kipling was enraged by reports of the Rape of Belgium together with the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915, which he saw as a deeply inhumane act, which led him to see the war as a crusade for civilization against barbarism. Kipling was privately deeply critical of how the war was fought by the British Army as opposed to the war itself, which he ardently supported, complaining as early as October 1914 that Germany should have been defeated by now, and something must be wrong with the British Army. Kipling, who was shocked by the heavy losses that the BEF had taken by the autumn of 1914 blamed the entire pre-war generation of British politicians, who he argued had failed to learn the lessons of the Boer War and as a result, thousands of British soldiers were now paying with their lives for their failure in the fields of France and Belgium.

After the first world war, Kipling remained sceptical about the Fourteen Points and the League of Nations, but he had great hopes that the United States would abandon isolationism and that the post-war world would be dominated by an Anglo-French-American alliance. Kipling hoped that the United States would take on a League of Nations mandate for Armenia as the best way of preventing isolationism, and hoped that Theodore Roosevelt, whom Kipling admired, would once again become President Kipling was saddened by Roosevelt’s death in 1919, believing that his friend was the only American politician capable of keeping the United States in the “game” of world politics. Kipling joined Sir Fabian Ware’s Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission), the group responsible for the garden-like British war graves that can be found to this day dotted along the former Western Front and all the other locations around the world where troops of the British Empire lie buried. His most significant contribution to the project was his selection of the biblical phrase “Their Name Liveth For Evermore” (Ecclesiasticus 44.14, KJV) found on the Stones of Remembrance in larger war graves and his suggestion of the phrase “Known unto God” for the gravestones of unidentified servicemen. He chose the inscription “The Glorious Dead” on the Cenotaph, Whitehall, London. He also wrote a two-volume history of the Irish Guards, his son’s regiment, that was published in 1923 and is considered to be one of the finest examples of regimental history. Kipling’s moving short story, “The Gardener”, depicts visits to the war cemeteries, and the poem “The King’s Pilgrimage” (1922) depicts a journey which King George V made, touring the cemeteries and memorials under construction by the Imperial War Graves Commission. With the increasing popularity of the automobile, Kipling became a motoring correspondent for the British press, and wrote enthusiastically of his trips around England and abroad, even though he was usually driven by a chauffeur.

ln 1920 Kipling co-founded the Liberty League with Haggard and Lord Sydenham. This short-lived enterprise focused on promoting classic liberal ideals as a response to the rising power of Communist tendencies within Great Britain, or has Kipling put it “to combat the advance of Bolshevism”. In 1922 Kipling, who had made reference to the work of engineers in some of his poems, such as The sons of Martha, Sappers, andMcAndrew’s hymn and in other writings such as short story anthologies, for instance The Day’s Work. He Was asked by University of Toronto civil engineering professorHerbert E. T. Haultain for his assistance in developing a dignified obligation and ceremony for graduating engineering students. Kipling was enthusiastic in his response and shortly produced both, formally entitled “The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer”. Today, engineering graduates all across Canada are presented with an iron ring at the ceremony as a reminder of their obligation to society.

In 1922 Kipling also became Lord Rector of St Andrews University in Scotland, a three-year position. Kipling argued very strongly for an Anglo-French alliance to uphold the peace, calling Britain and France in 1920 the “twin fortresses of European civilization”. Along the same lines, Kipling repeatedly warned against revising the Treaty of Versailles in Germany’s favor, which he predicated would lead to a new world war An admirer of Raymond Poincaré, Kipling was one of the few British intellectuals who supported the French Occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 at a time when the British government and most public opinion was against the French position. In contrast to the popular British view of Poincaré as a cruel bully intent on impoverishing Germany by seeking unreasonable reparations, Kipling argued that Poincare was only rightfully trying to preserve France as a great power in the face of an unfavorable situation.

Kipling argued that even before 1914 Germany’s larger economy and birthrate had made that country stronger than France, that with much of France was devastated by the war and the French suffering heavy losses that the low French birthrate would have trouble replacing while Germany was mostly undamaged and with a higher birth rate, that it was madness for Britain to seek to pressure France to revise Versailles in Germany’s favor. In 1924, Kipling was opposed to the Labour government of Ramsay MacDonald as “Bolshevism without bullets”, but believing that Labour was a Communist front organisation took the view that “excited orders and instructions from Moscow” would expose Labour as Communist front organisation to the British people.

Kipling’s views were on the right and through he admired Benito Mussolini to a certain extent for a time in the 1920s, Kipling was against fascism, writing that Sir Oswald Mosley was “a bounder and anarriviste”, by 1935 called Mussolini a deranged and dangerous egomaniac and in 1933 wrote “The Hitlerites are out for blood”.Once the Nazis came to power and usurped the swastika, Kipling ordered that it should no longer adorn his books. In 1934 he published a short story in Strand Magazine, “Proofs of Holy Writ”, which postulated that William Shakespeare had helped to polish the prose of the King James Bible Less than one year before his death Kipling gave a speech (titled “An Undefended Island”) to the Royal Society of St George on 6 May 1935 warning of the danger which Nazi Germany posed to Britain.

Kipling IS regarded as a major “innovator in the art of the short story”; his children’s books are enduring classics of children’s literature; and his best works are said to exhibit “a versatile and luminous narrative gift”.Kipling was one of the most popular writers in England, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry James said: “Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known.” In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize, and to date he remains its youngest recipient. Among other honours, he was sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, all of which he declined. Kipling’s subsequent reputation has changed according to the political and social climate of the age and the resulting contrasting views about him continued for much of the 20th century. George Orwell called him a “prophet of British imperialism”. Literary critic Douglas Kerr wrote: “He [Kipling] is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled. But as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognised as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with.

Kipling was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium, London, and his ashes were buried in Poets’ Corner, part of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey, next to the graves of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. In 2010 the International Astronomical Union approved that a crater on the planet Mercury would be named after Kipling—one of ten newly discovered impact craters observed by the MESSENGER spacecraft in 2008–9. In 2012, an extinct species of crocodile, Goniopholis kiplingi, was named in his honour, “in recognition for his enthusiasm for natural sciences”. More than 50 unpublished poems by Kipling were released for the first time in March 2013 and his novels remain popular to this day and have all been adapted for stage and screen numerous times including a fantastic animated Disney version and a live action version.

Thesaurus Day

A thesaurus is a reference work that lists words grouped together according to similarity of meaning (containing synonyms and sometimes antonyms), in contrast to a dictionary, which provides definitions for words, and generally lists them in alphabetical order. Thesaurus Day takes place annually on 18 January to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of British lexicographer, physician, and natural theologian Peter Mark Roget LRCP FRS FRCP FGS FRAS who was born 18 January 1779 and was the author of the very first thesaurus, Roget’s Thesaurus.

The main purpose of a thesaurus is to enable users “to find the word, or words, by which an idea may be best expressed”. Although including synonyms, a thesaurus should not be taken as a complete list of all the synonyms for a particular word. The entries are also designed for drawing distinctions between similar words and assisting in choosing exactly the right word. Unlike a dictionary, a thesaurus entry does not give the definition of words.

In the 4th Century Philo of Byblos authored the first text that could now be called a thesaurus. In Sanskrit, the Amarakosha is a thesaurus in verse form and mentions 18 prior works, but they have all been lost. The word “thesaurus” is derived from 16th-century New Latin, in turn from Latin thēsaurus, which is the Latinisation of the Greek θησαυρός (thēsauros), “treasure, treasury, storehouse”. The word thēsauros is of uncertain etymology. Douglas Harper derives it from the root of the Greek verb τιθέναι tithenai, “to put, to place.” Robert Beekes rejected an Indo-European derivation and suggested a Pre-Greek suffix *-arwo-. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, the term “thesaurus” was applied to any dictionary or encyclopedia, as in the Thesaurus linguae latinae (1532), and the Thesaurus linguae graecae (1572).

The first modern thesaurus was Roget’s Thesaurus, first compiled in 1805 by Peter Mark Roget, and published in 1852 containing 15,000 words. Since its publication it has never been out of print and is still a widely used work across the English-speaking world. Entries in Roget’s Thesaurus are listed conceptually rather than alphabetically. The meaning “collection of words arranged according to sense” is first attested in 1852 in Roget’s title and thesaurer is attested in Middle English for “treasurer”.

A. A. Milne

Best known for Winnie the Pooh, the English Author, poet and playwright Alan Alexander Milne was born 18 January 1882 in Hampstead London. He grew up at Henley House School, 6/7 Mortimer Road (now Crescent), Kilburn, a small public school run by his father. One of his teachers was H. G. Wells, who taught there in 1889–90. Milne attended Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, he studied on a mathematics scholarship. While there, he edited and wrote for Granta, a student magazine.He collaborated with his brother Kenneth and their articles appeared over the initials AKM. Milne’s work came to the attention of the leading British humour magazine Punch, where Milne was to become a contributor and later an assistant editor. After graduating from Cambridge in 1903, A. A. Milne contributed humorous verse and whimsical essays to Punch, the staff in 1906 and becoming an assistant editor.During this period he published 18 plays and 3 novels, including the murder mystery The Red House Mystery (1922). His son was born in August 1920 and in 1924 Milne produced a collection of children’s poems When We Were Very Young, which were illustrated by Punch staff cartoonist E. H. Shepard. A collection of short stories for children Gallery of Children, and other stories that became part of the Winnie-the-Pooh books, were first published in 1925.

Milne joined the British Army in World War I and served as an officer in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and later, after a debilitating illness, the Royal Corps of Signals. He was recruited into Military Intelligence to write propaganda articles between 1916 and 1918. He was discharged on 14 February 1919, & settled in Mallord Street, Chelsea. After the war, he wrote a denunciation of war titled Peace with Honour (1934), which he retracted somewhat with 1940’s War with Honour. During World War II, Milne was one of the most prominent critics of English writer P. G. Wodehouse, who was captured at his country home in France by the Nazis and imprisoned for a year. Wodehouse made radio broadcasts about his internment, which were broadcast from Berlin. Although the light-hearted broadcasts made fun of the Germans, Milne accused Wodehouse of committing an act of near treason by cooperating with his country’s enemy. Wodehouse got some revenge on his former friend (e.g., in The Mating Season) by creating fatuous parodies of the Christopher Robin poems in some of his later stories, and claiming that Milne “was probably jealous of all other writers…. But I loved his stuff.Milne married Dorothy “Daphne” de Sélincourt in 1913, and their only son, Christopher Robin Milne, was born in 1920. In 1925, A. A. Milne bought a country home, Cotchford Farm, in Hartfield, East Sussex.During World War II, A. A. Milne was Captain of the Home Guard in Hartfield & Forest Row, insisting on being plain “Mr. Milne” to the members of his platoon.

Milne was an early screenwriter for the British film industry, writing four stories filmed in 1920 for the company Minerva Films (founded in 1920 by the actor Leslie Howard and his friend and story editor Adrian Brunel). These were The Bump, starring Aubrey Smith; Twice Two; Five Pound Reward; and Bookworms. Some of these films survive in the archives of the British Film Institute. Milne had met Howard when the actor starred in Milne’s play Mr Pim Passes By in London. Milne is most famous for his two Pooh books about a boy named Christopher Robin after his son, Christopher Robin Milne, and various characters inspired by his son’s stuffed animals, most notably the bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. Christopher Robin Milne’s stuffed bear, originally named “Edward”,was renamed “Winnie-the-Pooh” after a Canadian black bear named Winnie (after Winnipeg), which was used as a military mascot in World War I, and left to London Zoo during the war. “The pooh” comes from a swan called “Pooh”. E. H. Shepard illustrated the original Pooh books, using his own son’s teddy, Growler (“a magnificent bear”), as the model.

The rest of Christopher Robin Milne’s toys, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Tigger, were incorporated into A. A. Milne’s stories,two more characters – Rabbit and Owl – were created by Milne’s imagination. Christopher Robin Milne’s own toys are now under glass in New York. The fictional Hundred Acre Wood of the Pooh stories derives from Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, South East England, where the Pooh stories were set. Milne lived on the northern edge of the Forest and took his son walking there. E. H. Shepard drew on the landscapes of Ashdown Forest as inspiration for many of the illustrations he provided for the Pooh books. The adult Christopher Robin commented: “Pooh’s Forest and Ashdown Forest are identical”. wooden Pooh Bridge in Ashdown Forest, where Pooh and Piglet inventedPoohsticks, is a tourist attraction.Not yet known as Pooh, he made his first appearance in a poem, “Teddy Bear”, published in the British magazine Punch in February 1924. Pooh first appeared in the London Evening News on Christmas Eve, 1925, in a story called “The Wrong Sort Of Bees”.Winnie-the-Pooh was published in 1926, followed by The House at Pooh Corner in 1928. A second collection of nursery rhymes, Now We Are Six, was published in 1927. All three books were illustrated by E. H. Shepard. Milne also published four plays in this period. He also “gallantly stepped forward” to contribute a quarter of the costs of dramatising P. G. Wodehouse’s A Damsel in Distress.His book The World of Pooh won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958.

Milne, also freed pre-war Punch from its ponderous facetiousness; he had made a considerable reputation as a playwright (like his idol J. M. Barrie) on both sides of the Atlantic; he had produced a witty piece of detective writing in The Red House Mystery (although this was severely criticised byRaymond Chandler for the implausibility of its plot). But once Milne had, in his own words, “said goodbye to all that in 70,000 words” (the approximate length of his four principal children’s books), he had no intention of producing any reworkings lacking in originality, given that one of the sources of inspiration, his son, was growing older.His reception remained warmer in America than Britain, and he continued to publish novels and short stories, but by the late 1930s, the audience for Milne’s grown-up writing had largely vanished: Even his old literary home, Punch, where the When We Were Very Young verses had first appeared, rejected him, as Christopher Milne details in his autobiography The Enchanted Places. Milne also wrote ‘The Norman Church’ and an assembly of articles entitled Year In, Year Out He also adapted Kenneth Grahame’s novel The Wind in the Willows for the stage as Toad of Toad Hall. A special introduction written by Milne is included in some editions of Grahame’s novel.

A. A. Milne sadly passed away in 1956 and The rights to A. A. Milne’s Pooh books were left to four beneficiaries: his family, the Royal Literary Fund, Westminster School and the Garrick Club, his widow sold her rights to the Pooh characters to Stephen Slesinger, whose widow sold the rights after Slesinger’s death to the Walt Disney Company, which has since made many Pooh cartoon movies, a Disney Channel television show, as well as Pooh-related merchandise. In 2001, the other beneficiaries sold their interest in the estate to the Disney Corporation. Forbes magazine ranks Winnie the Pooh the most valuable fictional character; in 2002 Winnie the Pooh merchandising products alone had annual sales of more than $5.9 billion. A memorial plaque in Ashdown Forest, unveiled by Christopher Robin in 1979, commemorates the work of A. A. Milne and Shepard in creating the world of Pooh.Milne once wrote of Ashdown Forest: “In that enchanted place on the top of the forest a little boy and his bear will always be playing”. In 2003, Winnie the Pooh was listed at number 7 on the BBC’s survey The Big Read. Several of Milne’s children’s poems were set to music by the composer Harold Fraser-Simson and his poems have been parodied many times, including with the books When We Were Rather Older and Now We Are Sixty.

Oliver Hardy

Best known as one half of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, the American comedian and actor Oliver Hardy sadly died August 7, 1957. He was born 18th January 1892 in Harlem, Georgia. The family moved to Madison, Georgia in 1891, before Norvell’s birth. Emily Hardy owned a house in Harlem. As a child, Hardy was sometimes difficult. He was sent to Georgia Military College in Milledgeville as a youngster and then attended Young Harris College in north Georgia in the 1905-1906 school year fall semester (September–January) when he was 13. He was in the junior high component of that institution of the time (the equivalent of high school today). Hardy had little interest in formal education, although he acquired an early interest in music and theater, His mother recognized his talent for singing and sent him to Atlanta to study music and voice with singing teacher Adolf Dahm-Petersen. Hardy skipped some of his lessons to sing in the Alcazar Theater, a cinema, for US$3.50 a week. He subsequently decided to go back to Milledgeville. Around 1910, Hardy began using the name “Oliver Norvell Hardy”, adding the first name “Oliver” as a tribute to his father. He appeared as “Oliver N. Hardy” in the 1910 U.S. census, and he used “Oliver” as his first name in all subsequent legal records, marriage announcements, etc. Hardy was initiated into Freemasonry at Solomon Lodge No. 20 in Jacksonville, Florida.

In 1910, when a movie theater opened in Hardy’s hometown of Milledgeville, he became the projectionist, ticket taker, janitor, and manager. He soon became obsessed with the new motion picture industry and was convinced that he could do a better job than the actors he saw. In 1913, Hardy moved to Jacksonville, Florida, And began as a cabaret and vaudeville singer at night, and at the Lubin Manufacturing Company during the day. He then met Madelyn Saloshin, a pianist, whom he married on November 17, 1913, in Macon, Georgia. In 1914 he made his first movie, Outwitting Dad (1914), for the Lubin studio. He was billed as O. N. Hardy. In his personal life, he was known as “Babe” Hardy, AndIn many of his later films at Lubin, he was billed as “Babe Hardy.” Hardy was a big man at 6’1″ tall and weighing up to 300 pounds. His size placed limitations on the roles he could play. He was most often cast as “the heavy” or the villain. He also frequently had roles in comedy shorts, his size complementing the character.

By 1915, Hardy had made 50 short one-reeler films at Lubin. He later moved to New York and made films for the Pathé, Casino and Edison Studios. After returning to Jacksonville, he made films for the Vim Comedy Company. He also worked for the King Bee studio, which bought Vim and worked with Bill Ruge, Billy West (a Charlie Chaplin imitator), and comedic actress Ethel Burton Palmer and continued portraying “heavies” for West, often imitating Eric Campbell to West’s Chaplin.) In 1917 Hardy moved to Los Angeles, working freelance for several Hollywood studios. Hardy made more than 40 films for Vitagraph, mostly playing the “heavy” for Larry Semon. In 1920 he divorced his wife and in 1921, Hardy married again, to actress Myrtle Reeves. In 1921, he appeared in the movie The Lucky Dog, produced by G.M. (“Broncho Billy”) Anderson and starring a young British comedian named Stan Laurel. Oliver Hardy played the part of a robber, trying to stick up Stan’s character.

In 1924, Hardy began working at Hal Roach Studios with the Our Gang films and Charley Chase. In 1925, he starred as the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz and in the film Yes, Yes, Nanette!, starring Jimmy Finlayson and directed by Stan Laurel. He also appeared in films featuring Clyde Cooke and Bobby Ray. In 1926, Hardy was scheduled to appear in Get ‘Em Young. But was hospitalized after being burned by a hot leg of lamb. So Laurel, who had been working as a gag man and director at Roach Studios, appeared instead. in 1926 Laurel and Hardy both appeared in the film , 45 Minutes from Hollywood,

In 1927, Laurel and Hardy began sharing screen time together in Slipping Wives, Duck Soup (no relation to the 1933 Marx Brothers’ film of the same name) and With Love and Hisses. They began producing a huge body of short movies, including The Battle of the Century (1927) (with one of the largest pie fights ever filmed), Should Married Men Go Home? (1928), Two Tars (1928), Unaccustomed As We Are (1929, marking their transition to talking pictures) Berth Marks (1929), Blotto (1930), Brats (1930), Another Fine Mess (1930), Be Big! (1931), and many others.In 1929, they appeared in their first feature, in one of the revue sequences of Hollywood Revue of 1929, and the following year they appeared as the comic relief in a lavish all-color (in Technicolor) musical feature entitled The Rogue Song. In 1931, they starred in their first full-length movie, “Pardon Us” and the 1932 short film”The Music Box” which won them an Academy Award for best short film. In 1936, Hardy and Myrtle Reeves divorced and in 1939 Hardy made Zenobia with Harry Langdon. Then In 1939 Laurel and Hardy made The Flying Deuces and Hardy met Virginia Lucille Jones, a script girl, whom he married the next year. In 1939, Laurel and Hardy made A Chump at Oxford (1940) (which features a moment of role reversal, with Oliver becoming a subordinate to a temporarily concussed Stan and Saps at Sea. They began performing for the USO, supporting the Allied troops during World War II. They teamed up to make films for 20th Century Fox and later Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer including The Bullfighters in 1945.

In 1947, Laurel and Hardy went on a six-week tour of the United Kingdom Which was lengthened to include engagements in Scandinavia, Belgium, France, as well as a Royal Command Performance for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. They continued to make live appearances in the United Kingdom and France for the next several years, until 1954, often using new sketches and material that Laurel had written for them. In 1949, John Wayne, asked Hardy to play a supporting role in The Fighting Kentuckian. Hardy had previously worked with Wayne and John Ford in a charity production of the play What Price Glory? and Frank Capra later invited Hardy to play a cameo role in Riding High with Bing Crosby in 1950.

During 1950–51, Laurel and Hardy made their final film. Atoll K (also known as Utopia) in which Laurel inherits an island, and the boys set out to sea, where they encounter a storm and discover a brand new island, rich in uranium, making them powerful and wealthy. Oliver Hardy, along with Stan Laurel, made two live television appearances: In 1953, on a live BBC television broadcast of the popular show “Face the Music” with host Henry Hall and in December 1954, on NBC’s This Is Your Life. They also appeared in a filmed insert for the BBC-TV show This Is Music Hall in 1955, which was their final public appearance together. Following This Is Your Life they were asked to produce a series of TV shows based on the Mother Goose fables with Hal Roach, Jr. However the series was postponed when Laurel suffered a stroke and Hardy suffered a heart attack and stroke from which he never physically recovered.

In total they appeared together in 107 films including 40 short sound films, 32 silent films and 23 full-length feature films, and made 12 guest or cameo appearances, including the recently discovered Galaxy of Stars promotional film (1936). Their silent film Big Business (1929) was added to the Library of Congress as a national treasure in 1992. The works of Laurel and Hardy have been re-released in numerous theatrical reissues, television revivals, 16mm and 8mm home movies, feature-film compilations, and home videos since the 1930s. They were voted the seventh greatest comedy act in a 2005 UK poll by fellow comedians. The duo’s signature tune, known variously as “The Cuckoo Song”, “Ku-Ku”, or “The Dance of the Cuckoos”, played on the opening credits of their films. The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is known as The Sons of the Desert after the film of the same name. A biopic featuring John C.Reilly and Steve Coogan has also been made.

Glen Frey (Eagles)

Glenn Frey, singer with American rock band The Eagles sadly passed away 18 January 2016. Formed in Los Angeles, California in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner, The Eagles have seven number one singles, six Grammys, five American Music Awards, and six number one albums, the Eagles were one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and Hotel California, ranked among the 20 best-selling albums in the U.S. according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Hotel California is ranked 37th in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and the band was ranked No. 75 on the magazine’s 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.They have the best-selling album in the U.S. with Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975), which sold approximately 42 million copies worldwide. They have sold over 120 million albums worldwide, and 100 million in the U.S. alone. They are the fifth-highest-selling music act and highest-selling American band in U.S. history. No other American band sold more records than the Eagles during the 1970s.The Eagles released their self-titled debut album in 1972 which spawned three Top 40 singles, “Take It Easy”, “Witchy Woman”, and “Peaceful Easy Feeling”.

 

They followed up the success of their debut album with Desperado in 1973. The album was less successful than the first, reaching only No. 41 on the charts and neither of its two singles reached the Top 40. However, the album contained two of the band’s most popular tracks, “Desperado” and “Tequila Sunrise”. They released On the Border in 1974 and added guitarist Don Felder midway through the recording of the album. The album generated two Top 40 singles: “Already Gone” and their first Number One, “Best of My Love”.It was not until 1975′s One of These Nights that the Eagles became America’s biggest band. The album released three Top 10 singles: “One of These Nights”, “Lyin’ Eyes”, and “Take It to the Limit”. They continued with that success in late 1976 with the release of Hotel California, which would go on to sell over 16 million copies in the U.S. alone. The album yielded three Top 20 singles, “New Kid in Town”, “Hotel California”, and “Life in the Fast Lane”.They released their last studio album for nearly 28 years in 1979 with The Long Run, which spawned three Top 10 singles: “Heartache Tonight”, “The Long Run”, and “I Can’t Tell You Why”.

The Eagles disbanded in July 1980 but reunited in 1994 for Hell Freezes Over, a mix of live and new studio tracks. They have toured intermittently since then and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2007, the Eagles released Long Road Out of Eden, their first full studio album in 28 years. The album would top the album charts, release five singles on the Adult Contemporary Charts and win the band two Grammys. The next year they launched the Long Road Out of Eden Tour in support of the album. The band members have discussed the possibility of making another album.

Richard Archer (Hard Fi)

Richard Archer, British singer and guitarist with English indie rock band (Hard-Fi was Born 18th January 1977. Archer’s first band Contempo were formed in Staines-upon-Thames during the summer of 1997, originally going by the name “Parachute”. Mick Jones produced demos that were intended to be released as an album in 2000 but whose release was delayed and eventually cancelled. Some of these tracks have been reworked as Hard-Fi songs. Contempo’s first release was a limited 7″ vinyl on the Blue Dog label with the tracks “On The Floor” and “Stronger” (the latter also released as a b-side for the Hard-Fi single Hard to Beat). In November 2000 Contempo announced they had left London Records. Contempo thenreleased a six track EP called “This Is Contempo”, which featured the ska song “Ain’t Going Out Tonight” on their own label “Nu-Suburban Sounds”. Another album, “Contempo – The Demos”, was a bootleg CD featuring demos of what would become Hard-Fi tracks: “Better Do Better”, “Can’t Get Along (Without You)”, “Living for the Weekend”, “Move On Now” and “Unnecessary Trouble”.

Hard Fi were Formed in Staines, Surrey in 2003. The band’s members are Richard Archer (lead vocals and guitar), Ross Phillips (guitar and backing vocals), Kai Stephens (bass guitar and backing vocals) and Steve Kemp (drums and backing vocals). Hard Fi achieved chart success with their third single, “Hard to Beat” and then followed by other successful singles such as “Cash Machine” and “Living for the Weekend”, which all reached top 15 in the UK Singles Chart. Their debut album STARS OF CCTV was released on 4 July 2005, and although receiving critical acclaim (NME called it the Album of the Year and it was nominated for the Mercury Prize and two Brit Awards; Best British Group and Best British Rock Act), it didn’t reach No. 1 in the UK albums chart until six months later on 22 January 2006. It originally entered the charts at number 6.

The band’s second album Once Upon a Time in the West was released on 3 September 2007 and reached number 1 in its first week. Their third album Killer Sounds, which features the singles “Good for Nothing”, “Fire in the House” and “Bring It On”, was released on 19 August 2011 and debuted at number 9 on the UK Album Chart. Although Hard-Fi are generally considered part of the indie rock scene, they have stated that they are also heavily influenced by soul and dance music.