Posted in music

Keith Flint (The Prodigy)

Famous for being a member of Essex Electronic dance group The Prodigy , the musician, dancer, singer, pioneer, and innovator Keith Flint tragically took his own life” recently.  He was born september 17th 1969. The Prodigy were Formed by Liam Howlett in 1990 in Braintree, Essex and the first emerged on the underground rave scene in the early 1990s after Liam Howlett created an initial 10-track demo, put together on a Roland W-30 music workstation in Essex, England. XL Recordings picked up the demo after Howlett played several tracks to XL boss Nick Halkes in a meeting, and an initial 12″ pressing of “What Evil Lurks” was released in February 1991. The Prodigy’s name was chosen by Liam as a tribute to his first analogue synthesiser, the Moog Prodigy. The first single”Charly”, became a huge hit in the rave scene at the time.The release reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart, catapulting the band into the wider public attention. The Kaos Theory compilation series featured “G Force (Energy Flow)”, from their third single, “Everybody in the Place”. The band also released the album, Experience, featuring the songs: “Charlie”, “Everybody in the Place”, “Fire/Jericho”, “Out of Space”, and “Wind It Up (Rewound)”. Following this The rave scene was beginning to move on from its hardcore phase, with the Criminal Justice Act’s “anti-rave” legislation on the horizon, calling rave music “repetitive beats”. So The Prodigy responded to the bill by writing “Their Law”. In 1993, Howlett released “Earthbound I” featuring a hypnotic, hard-edged sound, which which was later officially released as “One Love”.

The Prodigy’s second album, Music for the Jilted Generation, Was released In 1984, this contained heavy breakbeat and electro-industrial tracks like The Narcotic Suite and a rock-oriented inclination, “Their Law”, featuring Pop Will Eat Itself and was described as a “complex, powerful record that propelled dance music into stadiums with rock’n’roll swagger”. The album was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize. Howlett Intended the Prodigy to be a ‘hard dance band’, commercially successful but without compromise and To date, their only studio appearance on British television came when they appeared on the BBC2 series Dance Energy in 1991, performing “Everybody in the Place”. In the ensuing years, their videos received a strong level of support by MTV Europe, which boosted their popularity across the continent. Keith Flint himself hosted an episode of the MTV show 120 Minutes in 1995. The guitarist Jim Davies joined The Prodigy in 1995 for tracks such as “Their Law”, “Break and Enter 95”, but he was replaced by Gizz Butt of the band Janus Stark, who remained with the band for the next three years.

in 1996, The Prodigy released the single Firestarter featuring vocals courtesy of a new-look Keith Flint, and also headlined the prestigious Lollapalooza festival. The long-awaited third Prodigy album, The Fat of the Land, was released in 1997 Featuring simplified melodies, bone-jarring breaks and buzzsaw synths, sparser sampling, less rave music influences, and punk-like vocals supplied by a shockingly madeover Flint. It featured the songs “Firestarter”and Smack My Bitch Up”. Smack my bitch up caused controversy among the The National Organization for Women (NOW) who criticized the song and the music video, which featured a first-person point of view of someone going clubbing and indulging in large amounts of drugs and alcohol, fighting, abusing women and picking up a lap dancer (played by British glamour model Teresa May) and having sex with her. The band did not actually write the lyric, but rather, sampled it from the hip hop Ultramagnetic MCs’ track “Give the Drummer Some”. the Prodigy also headlined the Glastonbury Festival. The Prodigy also sampled another Ultramagnetic MCs song “Critical Beatdown” on the song “Out of Space” this also caused controversy

In 1997, the Prodigy performed “Breathe” at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, and won the Viewer’s Choice Award. During a performance at the Reading Festival In 1998, the Prodigy and the Beastie Boys had an onstage disagreement over the track, with the Beastie Boys requesting the song should be pulled from their set as it could be considered offensive to those who had suffered domestic abuse. Choosing to ignore the Beastie Boys plea, Maxim introduced “Smack My Bitch Up” Which later won two awards; Best Dance Video and Breakthrough Video At the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. “Smack My Bitch Up” saw the release of the Prodigy’s The Dirtchamber Sessions Volume One, a DJ mix album by Howlett, produced as an official record of a successful guest appearance on the British Radio 1. guitarist Gizz Butt left The Prodigy,and In 1999, Thornhill also departed from the group after splitting up with Sara Cox due to the risk of nervous breakdown.

In 2002, after a break from touring The Prodigy released the single “Baby’s Got a Temper” which courted controversy by including references to the so-called “date rape” drug Rohypnol in the song’s lyrics. The song’s music video was also controversial, which featured barely covered women milking cows in a suggestive fashion. in 2002 Q magazine also named the Prodigy one of the “50 Bands to See Before You Die”. Liam Howlett also married All Saints’ Natalie Appleton Their son, Ace Billy, was born on 2 March 2004.

The Prodigy’s fourth studio album, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, was released in 2004, Featuring A precursory and experimental single, “Memphis Bells”, and a remix of “Girls”, entitled “More Girls”. 5,000 digital copies of “Memphis Bells” were sold over the Internet. Each copy was a combination of customer-chosen instrumental, rhythmic, and melodic options, of which 39,600 choices were available. Five mixes were sold in three file formats, WAV, two audio mixes in MP3, and a 5.1 DTS surround sound mix, and all were free of digital rights management. In 2005, they released a compilation, Their Law: The Singles 1990–2005, which spawned a single containing new remixes of the songs “Out of Space” (the “Audio Bullys Remix”) and “Voodoo People” (the “Pendulum Remix”) and featuring guitar by Tom Morello. The song “You’ll be under my wheels” from the “Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned” album was added to the soundtrack of “Need for Speed: Most Wanted and the soundtrack of “The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift”.

In 2008 The Prodigy’s first two albums, 1992’s Experience and 1994’s Music for the Jilted Generation, were re-released in expanded, remastered deluxe editions featuring a bonus disc including mixes, rarities, live tracks and expanded artwork. In 2008 The Prodigy played the new tracks “Worlds on Fire”, “Warriors Dance”, “Mescaline”, and “First Warning”, at the Rainbow Warehouse Birmingham, the Oxegen Festival and Plug in Sheffield. They were also featured in the gangster movie Smokin’ Aces and The Electronic Arts video game Need for Speed: Undercover. The Prodigy’s fifth studio album Invaders Must Die was a return to the Prodigy’s old-school but cutting edge” roots and was released in 2009 as a CD, CD-DVD set, double vinyl, digital download, and a luxury 7-inch vinyl box set including five 7-inches, CD-DVD, bonus CD, poster, stickers, and stencils. The album featured drummer Dave Grohl on drums for “Run with the Wolves”. The songs “Omen” and “Invaders Must Die” were co-produced with Does It Offend You, Yeah? frontman James Rushent.. The single “Omen” also won the Kerrang! Award for Best Single followed by the singles, “Warrior’s Dance”, “Take Me to the Hospital” and, “Invaders Must Die (Liam H Reamped Version)”. Howlett also co-produced the song “Immunize” on Pendulum’s third album, Immersion. The Prodigy also embarked on a nine-date UK arena tour, with support from Dizzee Rascal, Noisia, Herve, and DJ Kissy Sell Out. They also played Glastonbury in 2009.

in 2011 the Prodigy released World’s on Fire, a film consisting mostly of footage of the Warrior’s Dance festival from July 2010, for one night only in selected cinemas across Europe. Recorded before 65,000 fans, World’s on Fire is the debut live film of the Prodigy, documenting their biggest concert to date. 2011, the Prodigy headlined the Przystanek Woodstock in Poland, and premiered two new tracks: “A.W.O.L” and “Dogbite” in Brazil. They headlined the 2012 Download Festival Performing three new songs, “Jetfighter”, “Dogbite” and “A.W.O.L”. to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the release of their third studio album The Fat of the Land, the album was re-released in 2012 alongside a remix EP, The Added Fat EP, featuring remixes By Major Lazer, Noisia, and Zeds Dead. New track “The Day” was debuted at Warrior’s Brixton while “Rockweiler” was debuted at Rock am Ring in 2013. In 2014 The band headlined the Sonisphere Festival at Knebworth. in 2015 the Prodigy released “Nasty” from their next album The Day Is My Enemy Which featured an “angry, energetic sound” band-album where Flint and Maxim worked in tandem with Howlett. In 2015 The band played at Future Music Festival Australia, toured Germany, France and the UK and also performed at the Rock Werchter, Rock am Ring/Rock im Park, Benicàssim and Isle of Wight festivals. The Prodigy then released “Wild Frontier” featuring a Stop-motion animation video which was directed by the Dutch filmmaker Mascha Halberstad and animator Elmer Kaan. The Cover Art was designed by Austrian artist and designer Moritz Resl.The Prodigy announced a winter 2015 UK and mainland Europe tour on 26 May, with Public Enemy as support. The song The Day Is My Enemy was featured in the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multiplayer reveal trailer, and the mission in the Watch Dogs 2 video game.

Along with The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, and others, The Prodigy are credited as pioneers of the big beat genre, of the 1990s. They have sold over 30 million records worldwide, and won numerous music awards during their career, including two Brit Awards for Best British Dance Act, three MTV Video Music Awards, two Kerrang! Awards, five MTV Europe Music Awards, and two Grammy Awards nominations.They earned titles like “the premiere dance act for the alternative masses” and “the Godfathers of Rave”, and remain one of the most successful electronic acts of all time.

Posted in films & DVD, music

Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody is out on DVD it concerns Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the British rock band Queen. It follows the singer’s life from when he joins the band in 1970 to their 1985 Live Aid performance at the former Wembley Stadium in London. It was Directed by Bryan Singer, written by Anthony McCarten, and produced by Graham King and Queen manager Jim Beach. It stars Rami Malek as Mercury, with Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, and Mike Myers in supporting roles. Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor served as consultants.

It begins In 1970 London, where Farrokh “Freddie” Bulsara, an Indian Parsi refugee from Zanzibar, studies art at a college while working as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport. At night, he often goes out with friends to listen to music. One night, after a show at a pub, Freddie goes to find the band, Smile, and he meets drummer, Roger Taylor and guitarist, Brian May and discovers that their lead singer, Tim Staffell, had just quit, so he auditions as their singer. With the addition of Freddie as lead singer, and bassist John Deacon, the band play gigs across Britain, selling out at pubs and universities. Freddie urges the band to think bigger and record their debut album. Freddie also changes the band’s name to Queen and designs their logo. He also legally changes his name to Freddie Mercury. The band signs with John Reid, Elton John’s manager, and receives a contract with EMI. An appearance on Top of the Pops also gives Queen a hit record, “Killer Queen”.

By 1975, Queen have recorded their fourth album, A Night at the Opera, featuring the six-minute song “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Freddie has DJ Kenny Everett play the song on the radio and Despite mixed reviews, “Bohemian Rhapsody” becomes a smash hit. The band’s success continues, however tensions arise over the direction of their music and changes in Freddie’s attitude resulting from his relationship with Paul. After a lavish party at his new home, Freddie falls for Jim Hutton. On stage Queen perform We Will Rock You”, furthering their reputation, however despite enormous commercial success, tensions within the band are reaching breaking point, then Freddie’s relationship with his bandmates deteriorates even further after the “I Want to Break Free” music video, in which the band appears in drag, is banned from MTV so Mercury embarks on a Solo career and signs a solo deal with CBS Records, and moves to Munich in 1984 to work on his first solo album, Mr. Bad Guy. Whilst in Munich Mercury engages in gay orgies with Paul involving drugs and alcohol which become increasingly debauched and Mercury gets seriously ill.

Freddie is urged to return to the band and they embark on The Works tour culminating eight weeks before Bob Geldof’s benefit concert, Live Aid at Wembley Stadium and Queen are given a slot in Live Aid. however he is tragically diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Nevertheless The band perform a barn storming set at Live Aid, performing “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “Hammer to Fall” and “We Are the Champions” and The Live Aid Performance is hailed as one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music.

Some historical events are also portrayed out of order in the film, for dramatic effect, such as simplifyingThe formation of Queen, The character of Ray Foster being fictional, and Mercury not being the first member of Queen to release a solo album either: Taylor released Fun in Space in April 1981 and Strange Frontier in June 1984. May released Star Fleet Project in October 1983 events surround Freddie Mercury’s diagnosis were also different. Despite this Bohemian Rhapsody received numerous accolades, including a leading four awards at the 91st Academy Awards for Best Actor (Malek), Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing; it was also nominated for Best Picture. The film won Best Motion Picture – Drama at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, and was nominated for the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture and BAFTA Award for Best British Film, while Malek won the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA awards for Best Actor.

Posted in computers, Events, Fantasy, Food, games, Internet

International Games Masters Day

International Games Master’s Day takes place anuually on 4 March. GM’s Day was born on EN World in December 2002. Originally a simple messageboard post by EN World member Spunkrat (later renamed Heathen72), the idea quickly gained popularity, championed by Mark Clover of Creative Mountain Games and, of course, EN World itself.

GM’s Day is an annual day to show your GAmes Master, DUngeon Master, Storyteller, or Referee) how much you appreciate them. Publishers and retail outlets across the world now join in GM’s Day, offering discounts, sales, and other cool stuff. From a single messageboard thread, GM’s Day now includes hundreds of publishers, websites, bloggers, such as RPGNow/DriveThruRPG’s who host a massive GM’s Day sale. Marth 4th is also the anniversary of the sad passing of Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax who sadly died 4 March 2008.

Toy Soldier Day

The name of Toy Soldier Day is a bit deceiving. Rather than collecting or displaying plastic toys or replicas, Toy Soldier Day is actually intended to unite fans of various role-playing activities. Toy Soldier Day was orignally started as a fan club by The Army of Toy Soldiers to give recognition to talented street performer, including musicians and the internet personality Dr. Steel who started his career in 1999 in Los Angeles, Putting on shows combining puppetry and video projections to help his audience better understnd the meanings of his steampunk songs. countless fans of stage persona Dr. Steel celebrate Toy Soldier Day annually Including nurses, scouts and soldiers) one of the primary goals of Toy Soldier Day is to collaborate, compare and share costume ideas.

More International, National events and Holidays happepning on 4 March

International Scrapbooking Industry Day
March Forth Day
National Day of Unplugging
National Grammar Day
National Poundcake Day
National Snack Day
Old Inauguration Day

Posted in Events

Benjamen Harrison Day

Benjamen Harrison day takes place annually on 4 March To commemorate ex-American President, Politician and Lawyer Benjamin Harrison who was born on August 20, 1833 and served as the 23rd president of the United States from 1889 to 1893

He was a grandson of the ninth president, William Henry Harrison, creating the only grandfather–grandson duo to have held the office. He was also the great-grandson of Benjamin Harrison V, a founding father. Before ascending to the presidency, Harrison established himself as a prominent local attorney, Presbyterian church leader, and politician in Indianapolis, Indiana. During the American Civil War, he served in the Union Army as a colonel, and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a brevet brigadier general of volunteers in 1865. Harrison unsuccessfully ran for governor of Indiana in 1876. The Indiana General Assembly elected Harrison to a six-year term in the U.S. Senate, where he served from 1881 to 1887.

A Republican, Harrison was elected to the presidency in 1888, defeating the Democratic incumbent, Grover Cleveland. Hallmarks of Harrison’s administration included unprecedented economic legislation, including the McKinley Tariff, which imposed historic protective trade rates, and the Sherman Antitrust Act. Harrison also facilitated the creation of the national forest reserves through an amendment to the Land Revision Act of 1891. During his administration six western states were admitted to the Union. In addition, Harrison substantially strengthened and modernized the U.S. Navy and conducted an active foreign policy, but his proposals to secure federal education funding as well as voting rights enforcement for African Americans were unsuccessful.

Thanks to surplus revenues from the tariffs, federal spending reached one billion dollars for the first time during his term. The spending issue in part led to the defeat of the Republicans in the 1890 mid-term elections. Cleveland defeated Harrison for re-election in 1892, due to the growing unpopularity of the high tariff and high federal spending. Harrison returned to private life and his law practice in Indianapolis. In 1899 Harrison represented the Republic of Venezuela in their British Guiana boundary dispute against the United Kingdom. Harrison traveled to the court of Paris as part of the case and after a brief stay returned to Indianapolis. He died at his home in Indianapolis in 1901 of complications from influenza. Although many have praised Harrison’s commitment to African Americans’ voting rights, scholars and historians generally regard his administration as below-average, and rank him in the bottom half among U.S. presidents. Historians, however, have not questioned Harrison’s commitment to personal and official integrity.

Posted in books, films & DVD

James Ellroy

American crime fiction writer and essayist Lee Earle “James” Ellroy was born March 4, 1948 in Los Angeles, California. His mother, Geneva Odelia (née Hilliker), was a nurse, and his father, Armand, was an accountant and a onetime business manager of Rita Hayworth. After his parents’ divorce, Ellroy relocated to El Monte, California, with his mother. When Ellroy was 10 years old, his mother was raped and murdered. Ellroy later described his mother as “sharp-tongued and bad-tempered”, unable to keep a steady job, alcoholic and sexually promiscuous. His first reaction upon hearing of her death was relief: he could now live with his father, whom he preferred. The police never found the perpetrator, and the case remains unsolved. The murder, along with reading The Badge by Jack Webb (a book comprising sensational cases from the files of the Los Angeles Police Department, a birthday gift from his father), was an important event of Ellroy’s youth

Ellroy’s inability to come to terms with the emotions surrounding his mother’s murder led him to transfer them onto another murder victim, Elizabeth Short. Nicknamed the “Black Dahlia,” Short was a young woman murdered in 1947, her body cut in half and discarded in Los Angeles, in a notorious and unsolved crime. Throughout his youth, Ellroy used Short as a surrogate for his conflicting emotions and desires. His confusion and trauma led to a period of intense clinical depression. Ellroy dropped out of school and joined the US Army for a short while. During his teens and 20s, he drank heavily and abused Benzedrex inhalers. He was engaged in minor crimes (especially shoplifting, house-breaking, and burglary) and was often homeless. After serving some time in jail and suffering from pneumonia, during which he developed an abscess on his lung “the size of a large man’s fist,” Ellroy stopped drinking and began working as a golf caddie while pursuing writing

After a second marriage in the mid-1990s to Helen Knode (author of the 2003 novel The Ticket Out), the couple moved from California to Kansas City in 1995. In 2006, after their divorce, Ellroy returned to Los Angeles He is a self-described recluse who possesses very few technological amenities, including television, and claims never to read contemporary books by other authors, aside from Joseph Wambaugh’s The Onion Field, out of concern that they might influence his own. However, this does not mean that Ellroy does not read at all, as he claims in My Dark Places to have read at least two books a week growing up, eventually shoplifting more to satisfy his love of reading. He then goes on to say that he read works by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.

In 1981, Ellroy published his first novel, Brown’s Requiem, a detective story drawing on his experiences as a caddie. He then published Clandestine and Silent Terror (which was later published under the title Killer on the Road). Ellroy followed these three novels with the Lloyd Hopkins Trilogy. The novels are centered on Hopkins, a brilliant but disturbed LAPD robbery-homicide detective, and are set mainly in the 1980s. While his early novels earned him a cult following and notice among crime fiction buffs, Ellroy earned much greater success and critical acclaim with the L.A. Quartet—The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz. The four novels represent Ellroy’s change of style from the tradition of classic modernist noir fiction of his earlier novels to what has been classified as postmodern historiographic metafiction. The Black Dahlia, for example, fused the real-life murder of Elizabeth Short with a fictional story of two police officers investigating the crime. In 1995, Ellroy published American Tabloid, the first novel in a series informally dubbed the “Underworld USA Trilogy” that Ellroy describes as a “secret history” of the mid-to-late 20th century. Tabloid was named TIME’s fiction book of the year for 1995. Its follow-up, The Cold Six Thousand, became a bestseller. The final novel, Blood’s a Rover, was released on September 22, 2009.

After publishing American Tabloid, Ellroy began a memoir, My Dark Places, based on his memories of his mother’s murder, the unconventional relationship he had with her, and his investigation of the crime. In the memoir, Ellroy mentions that his mother’s murder received little news coverage because the media were still fixated on the murder of mobster Johnny Stompanato, who was dating actress Lana Turner. Frank C. Girardot, a reporter for The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, accessed files on Geneva Hilliker Ellroy’s murder from detectives with Los Angeles Police Department.[5] Based on the cold case file, Ellroy and investigator Bill Stoner worked the case but gave up after 15 months, believing any suspects to be dead. In 2008, The Library of America selected the essay “My Mother’s Killer” from My Dark Places for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime.

Ellroy is currently writing a “Second L.A. Quartet” taking place during the Second World War, with some characters from the first L.A. Quartet and the Underworld USA Trilogy returning younger. The first book, Perfidia, was released on September 9, 2014. The second book is titled This Storm which has a release date of September 2018. A Waterstones exclusive limited edition of Perfidia was published two days after its initial release and included an essay by Ellroy titled “Ellroy’s History — Then and Now” Ellroy dedicated Perfidia “To Lisa Stafford.” The epigraph is “Envy thou not the oppressor, And choose none of his ways” from Proverbs 3:31.

Posted in music

Chris Squire (Yes XYZ)

Chris Squire, bass player, vocalist and Founding member with the Progressive Rock bands YES, XYZ and Conspiracy was Born 4 March 1948. Squire grew up in central London, where, in 1964, he was suspended from school for having long hair. He played in a few bands in the 1960s, including the Selfs, the Syn, and Mabel Greer’s Toyshop. 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.

Posted in books, Science-tech, Television

Sir Patrick Moore CBE FRAS

Writer, Amateur Astronomer and Television personality Sir Patrick Moore CBE FRS FRAS was Born 4 March 1923, in Pinner, Middlesex, on March 4 1923. He was the son of Captain Charles Caldwell-Moore, MC. Later the family moved to Sussex, where Patrick was to live for the rest of his life. He was educated at home owing to ill health, and wrote his first scientific paper at the age of 13 — his chosen subject was the features in a lunar crater he had seen through a small telescope. At the end of 1941 he joined the RAF to train for aircrew duties during World War II; however his fiancée was killed by a bomb during the war. During 1943 left for Canada for training as a navigator, was commissioned in June 1944 and completed his training at a bomber conversion unit at Lossiemouth in northern Scotland. However due to epilepsy, was declared medically unfit for further flying duties and He left the Service in 1947.

From 1952 he was a freelance writer until One day in 1957 the BBC broadcast a somewhat sensationalist programme about flying saucers. Producers wanted a counterview by a “thoroughly reactionary and sceptical astronomer who knew some science and could talk”, consequently The Sky at Night was born, and it went on to become the world’s longest-running television series with the same original presenter & attracted millions of viewers. Moore’s Idiosyncrasies such as his rapid diction and monocle made him a popular and instantly recognisable figure on British television, where he became celebrated for the thunderous fervour with which he would utter the words: “We just don’t know!” to emphasise that our comprehension of the universe is incomplete.

The secret of the program’s success lay not only in his tremendous learnedness but also in his gusto and humour & he soon attained a prominent status as a writer, researcher, radio commentator and television presenter and did more than anyone, with the possible exception of Arthur C Clarke, to educate the British public about astronomy and space travel. He would also happily appear on chat shows, quiz shows and comedy shows, among them The Goodies; Morecambe and Wise; Blankety Blank, and Have I Got News For You. He even starred in digitised form on the children’s video game show GamesMaster. Moore was also a connoisseur of music, and sometimes played a xylophone on television. He also wrote the score for an opera about Theseus and the Minotaur. He was also a keen sportsman and proved a demon spin bowler on the Cricket Pitch. He also played golf and once at his local course set a club record – of 231, including a 43 on the third hole. Chess was another passion (he often carried with him a pocket chess set) and even dabbled in politics.

In 1982 he wrote a humorous but inflammatory book called “Bureaucrats: How to Annoy Them”. It advised that imposing a thin layer of candle grease on those parts of a form marked “for official use only” would prevent the recipient from writing anything and probably drive him mad. “Useful when dealing with the Inland Revenue,” said Moore. He was also A keen pipe smoker & was elected Pipeman of the Year in 1983. In addition to his many popular science books, he wrote numerous works of fiction. Moore was an opponent of fox hunting, an outspoken critic of the European Union and served as chairman of the short-lived anti-immigration United Country Party. After his fiancee was killed during World War II, he never married or had children.

Moore was also a former president of the British Astronomical Association, co-founder and former president of the Society for Popular Astronomy (SPA), author of over 70 books most of them about astronomy, As an amateur astronomer, he became known as a specialist on observing the Moon and creating the Caldwell catalogue. In 2002 Moore was appointed honorary vice-president of the Society for the History of Astronomy. He also won a Bafta for his services to television. He also continued to publish books to the end of his life. Recent titles include Patrick Moore on the Moon (2000, new edition 2006); The Data Book of Astronomy (2001); Patrick Moore: the autobiography (2005); Asteroid (with Arthur C Clarke, 2005); Stars of Destiny (2005); Ancient Lights (2008); and Can You Play Cricket on Mars? (2009).

This year alone he published Astronomy with a Budget Telescope: An Introduction to Practical Observing; The Sky at Night: Answers to Questions from Across the Universe; Miaow!: Cats really are nicer than people!; and The New Astronomy Guide: Star Gazing in the Digital Age. He was appointed OBE in 1968, CBE in 1988 and knighted in 2001. In 1982 a minor planet was named after him by the International Astronomical Union. He also held the posts of president of the British Astronomical Association and director of the Armagh Planetarium in Northern Ireland. Yet the Royal Society refused to elect him as a Fellow — one of their number declared that he had committed the ultimate sin of “making science popular”. In 2001, however, he was elected to an honorary Fellowship. Sadly Moore Passed away 9th December 2012 aged 89 however he leaves a rich legacy and is fondly remembered by many.

Posted in books

Khaled Hosseini

Afghan-born American novelist and physician Khaled Hosseini was born March 4, 1965. He is a citizen of the United States where he has lived since he was fifteen years old. His 2003 debut novel, The Kite Runner, was an international bestseller, with the paperback spending 101 weeks on the bestseller list In 2007, it was followed by A Thousand Splendid Suns which has spent 21 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list for paperback fiction and 49 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover fiction (#1 for 15 of those weeks). The two novels have sold more than 38 million copies internationally. Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. In 1970 Hosseini and his family moved to Iran where his father worked for the Embassy of Afghanistan in Tehran. In 1973 Hosseini’s family returned to Kabul, and Hosseini’s youngest brother was born in July of that year.In 1976, when Hosseini was 11 years old, Hosseini’s father obtained a job in Paris, France, and moved the family there. They were unable to return to Afghanistan because of the Saur Revolution in which the PDPA communist party seized power through a bloody coup in April 1978. Instead, a year after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in 1980 they sought political asylum in the United States and made their residence in San Jose, California.Hosseini graduated from Independence High School in San Jose in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1988. The following year, he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. in 1993. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1996.

Hosseini practiced medicine for over ten years, until a year and a half after the release of his first novel The Kite Runner which was released in 2003 and is the the story of a young boy, Amir, struggling to establish a closer rapport with his father and coping with memories of a haunting childhood event. The novel is set in Afghanistan, from the fall of the monarchy until the collapse of the Taliban regime, and in the San Francisco Bay Area, specifically in Fremont, California. Its many themes include ethnic tensions between the Hazara and the Pashtun in Afghanistan, and the immigrant experiences of Amir and his father in the United States. The novel was the number three best seller for 2005 in the United States, according to Nielsen BookScan. The Kite Runner was also produced as an audiobook read by the author. The Kite Runner has been adapted into a film of the same name released in December, 2007. Hosseini made a cameo appearance towards the end of the movie as a bystander when Amir buys a kite which he later flies with Sohrab.

Hosseini’s second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, was published in 2007, and is also set in Afghanistan. The story addresses many of the same issues as Hosseini’s first, but takes a more feminine perspective. It follows the story of two women, Mariam and Laila, whose lives become entwined. The story is set during Afghanistan’s tumultuous thirty-year transition from Soviet occupation to Taliban control and post-Taliban rebuilding. The novel was released by Riverhead Books on May 22, 2007, at the same time as the Simon & Schuster audiobook. Movie rights have been acquired by producer Scott Rudin and Columbia Pictures.[On October 29, 2012, Riverhead Books confirmed that Hosseini’s third novel And the Mountains Echoed would be released on May 21, 2013. Hosseini said, “I am forever drawn to family as a recurring central theme of my writing. My earlier novels were at heart tales of fatherhood and motherhood. My new novel is a multi-generational family story as well, this time revolving around brothers and sisters, and the ways in which they love, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for each other. I am thrilled at the chance to share this book with my readers Hosseini is currently a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through the Khaled Hosseini Foundation. The concept for which was inspired by the trip to Afghanistan that Hosseini made in 2007 with UNHCR.

Khaled Hosseini’s third novel And the Mountains Echoed was Published in 2013. The novel opens in the year 1952. Saboor, an impoverished farmer from the fictional village of Shadbagh, decides to sell his three-year-old daughter Pari to a wealthy, childless couple in Kabul. The choice devastates his ten-year-old son, Abdullah, who raised Pari following their mother’s death in childbirth and the novel tells of the Intertwining destinies of each character. This novel deviates from Hosseini’s style in his first two works through his choice to avoid focusing on any one character. Instead the book is written similarly to a collection of short stories, with each of the nine chapters being told from the perspective of a different character.

Posted in music

Roland Gould

Roland Gould, English Guitarist with English pop rock and jazz-funk band Level 42 was Born MArch 4 1955. The band had a number of worldwide and UK hits during the 1980s and 1990s & gained fame for their high-calibre musicianship—in particular that of Mark King, whose percussive slap-bass guitar technique provided the driving groove of many of the band’s hits. The band are also known for the combination of King’s lead vocals and keyboard player Mike Lindup’s falsetto backing vocals and were formed after Mark King and the Gould brothers (Phil and Rowland) played together in various bands during their teenage years. Phil Gould went on to study at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he met keyboard player Mike Lindup in a percussion course. Both musicians found that they shared musical heroes: Miles Davis, John McLaughlin, Keith Jarrett and Jan Hammer. Boon Gould also playing bass guitar and saxophone and Lindup doubling on keyboards and drums. Mark King was primarily a drummer, but also played guitar. The developing band (at this point, entirely an instrumental act) took the name Level 42 and settled on a working line-up of King (bass guitar, percussion), Lindup (keyboards, percussion), Boon Gould (guitar, saxophone) and Phil Gould (drums).In 1981 they released their first single, “Love Games”, which became a Top 40 hit. then cut their critically acclaimed, self-titled debut album, which was an immediate success throughout Europe. The band quickly established themselves as concert favourites, taking advantage of the high performance skills of all four members. Polydor capitalised on the band’s success by releasing a second album, The Early Tapes later in the same year.

This was a compilation of material and is also known by an alternate name, Strategy. In 1982 Level 42 released their third album The Pursuit of Accidents. This was a further development of the Level 42 formula, maintaining their instrumental jazz-funk skills and styling but also experimenting further with pop songs, singles from the album were “Weave Your Spell” and “The Chinese Way”. A fourth album, Standing in the Light, was released in 1983 It was less experimental and jazzy than previous releases & provided them with their first UK Top Ten hit The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up). The 1984 album True Colours veered stylistically between funk, power pop, mid-tempo rock and moody ballads & yielded the singles “The Chant Has Begun” and “Hot Water”.

During the same year, Mark King released his first solo album Influences on which he played the majority of the instruments (with a guest appearance by Aswad’s Drummie Zeb, and with Lindup guesting on additional keyboards).The next studio album, World Machine, was released in 1985 gaining positive reviews from critics. By this time, the band had moved on from their original pure jazz-funk sound towards a much more mainstream pop/R’n’B sound, with King’s bass and Lindup and Badarou’s chugging keyboards serving as templates for smart pop songs such as “Something About You” and “Leaving Me Now”. The “Lessons in Love” single arrived in early 1986—a song that would soon appear on 1987′s Running in the Family album. The song was a massive international hit and became the band’s biggest seller.Keeping up the momentum, the band played at the Prince’s Trust concert in July 1987, with Eric Clapton standing in on lead guitar for a performance of Running in the Family.

During 1987, both Phil Gould and Roland Gould left Level 42. The next album Staring at the Sun was released in 1988. Sadly During 1989, Alan Murphy contracted pneumonia, which was complicated by the fact that he was already suffering from AIDS. His decline was rapid, and he died on 19 October 1989. This was a huge shock to the band, who had not known of Murphy’s condition and who had grown so fond of him that they stated at the time that they “could not replace Alan.”Devastated, Level 42 took a year off to regroup and rethink. In 1990 they released their next album, Guaranteed which was well received by American music critics, who appreciated the group’s musicianship and regarded it as Level 42′s most musically sophisticated work to date. In early 1993, Gary Husband left Level 42 and in 1994 it was announced that Level 42 would be disbanding permanently following their concert commitments.

Having been a very successful live and studio band in the 1980s, Level 42′s commercial profile diminished during the early 1990s following a series of personnel changes and musical shifts. After disbanding in 1994, the band reformed in 2001. Their most successful single was “Lessons in Love”, which reached number three on the UK Singles Chart, and number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, upon its release in 1986.