Mercator Day

Mercator Day takes place on 5 March and celebrates the anniversary of the birth of Flemish mathematician, geographer, cartographer and philosopher; Gerardus Mercator. He was born on 5 March 1512 into a Catholic family at a time when Martin Luther’s Protestantism was gaining in popularity

Mercator was one of the founders of the Netherlandish school of cartography and is widely considered as the most notable figure of the school in its golden age (approximately 1570s–1670s). In his own day he was the world’s most famous geographer but, in addition, he had interests in theology, philosophy, history, mathematics and geomagnetism as well as being an accomplished engraver, calligrapher and maker of globes and scientific instruments.

Mercator travelled little and his knowledge of geography came from his library of over one thousand books and maps, from his visitors and from his vast correspondence (in six languages) with other scholars, statesmen, travellers, merchants and seamen. Mercator’s early maps were in large formats suitable for wall mounting however he also produced over 100 new regional maps in a smaller format suitable for binding into his Atlas of 1595. This was the first appearance of the word Atlas in a geographical context but Mercator used it as a neologism for a treatise (Cosmologia) on the creation, history and description of the universe, not simply a collection of maps. He chose the word as a commemoration of the Titan Atlas, “King of Mauretania”, whom he considered to be the first great geographer.

Mercator also wrote on geography, philosophy, chronology and theology. All of the wall maps were engraved with copious text on the region concerned. As an example the famous world map of 1569 is inscribed with over 5000 words in fifteen legends. The 1595 Atlas has about 120 pages of maps and illustrated title pages but a greater number of pages are devoted to his account of the creation of the universe and descriptions of all the countries portrayed. His table of chronology ran to some 400 pages fixing the dates (from the time of creation) of earthly dynasties, major political and military events, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and eclipses. He also wrote on the gospels and the old testament.

For sixty years Mercator’s terrestrial and celestial globes were considered to be the finest in the world, and they were sold in such great numbers that there are many surviving examples. This was a substantial enterprise involving making the spheres, printing the gores, building substantial stands, packing and distributing all over Europe. He was also renowned for his scientific instruments, particularly his astrolabes and astronomical rings used to study the geometry of astronomy and astrology. He became renowned for creating the Mercator Projection in 1569, a world map based on a new projection which represented sailing courses of constant bearing (rhumb lines) as straight lines—an innovation that is still employed in nautical charts. He also made astrolabes, astronomical rings, and terrestrial and celestial globes

Mercator was a devout Christian and although He never declared himself as a Lutheran he was clearly sympathetic and he was accused of heresy (Lutheranye). He spent six months in prison but he emerged unscathed. This period of persecution is probably the major factor in his move from Catholic Leuven (Louvain) to a more tolerant Duisburg where he lived for the last thirty years of his life until he sadly died on 2 December 1594. Mercator’s friend and first biographer, Walter Ghim, described him as sober in his behaviour, yet cheerful and witty in company, and never more happy than in debate with other scholars, but above all he was pious and studious until his dying days.


More Events, International and aNational Holdays happening March 5
St. Piran’s Day
Cinco de Marcho
Multiple Personality Day
National Absinthe Day
National Cheese Doodle Day

John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

John Frusciante, on/off member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers was born March 5th 1970. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were formed in Los Angeles in 1983 and The Peppers’ musical style incorparates a mix of funk, alternative rock, hard rock and punk rock. The band’s influences include Defunkt, Parliament-Funkadelic, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Gang of Four, Bob Marley, Big Boys, Sly and the Family Stone, Ohio Players, Queen, Stevie Wonder, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Black Flag, Ornette Coleman, Led Zeppelin, Bad Brains, Fugazi, Fishbone, Marvin Gaye, Billie Holiday, Santana, Elvis Costello, The Stooges, The Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Devo, and Miles Davis. Live. They also incorporate many aspects of jam rock due to the improvised nature of much of their performances. Currently, the band consists of founding members Anthony Kiedis (vocals) and Michael “Flea” Balzary (bass), longtime drummer Chad Smith, and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who joined in late 2009, following the departure of John Frusciante. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have won seven Grammy Awards and sold over 80 million albums worldwide. In 2012 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The band’s original line-up featured guitarist Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons, alongside Kiedis and Flea. Cliff Martinez was the drummer for the first two records (Irons played on the third), and guitarist Jack Sherman played on the first. Slovak performed on two albums Freaky Styley (1985) and The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987); but died of a heroin overdose in 1988, resulting in drummer Irons’ departure. Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist DeWayne McKnight was brought in but he was replaced by John Frusciante in 1988. Former Dead Kennedys drummer D.H. Peligro was brought in to replace Irons but was soon replaced by Chad Smith that same year. The line-up of Flea, Kiedis, Frusciante and Smith was the longest-lasting, and recorded five studio albums starting with 1989′s Mother’s Milk.

In 1991, the group released the album Blood Sugar Sex Magik, which became the band’s first commercial success. However Frusciante left abruptly in 1992, in the middle of the album tour. so they recruited guitarist Arik Marshall to complete the tour, Kiedis, Flea, and Smith employed Jesse Tobias who was replaced by Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction for their subsequent album, One Hot Minute (1995). Although commercially successful, the album failed to match the critical or popular acclaim of Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Navarro left the band in 1998 and Frusciante, rejoined the band that same year at Flea’s request. The reunited quartet returned to the studio to record Californication(1999), which became the band’s biggest commercial success with 15 million copies worldwide. That album was followed three years later by By the Way(2002), and then four years later by the double album Stadium Arcadium (2006), their first number one album in America.

Following a world tour, the group went on an extended hiatus. Frusciante announced he was amicably leaving the band again to focus on his solo career. So Josh Klinghoffer, who had previously worked both as a sideman for the band on their Stadium Arcadium tour and on Frusciante’s solo projects, joined as lead guitarist in 2009 and the band spent the next year and a half recording their tenth studio album, I’m with You, which was released in 2011 and topped the charts in 18 different countries. The Red Hot Chili Peppers eleventh Album The Getaway was released in 2015 and features the songs the Getaway, Dark Necessities, We turn Red, Goodbye Angels, Longest Wave, Goodbye Robot, Sick Love, Feasting on the Flowers, Detroit, This Ticondaroga, encore, The Hunter and Dreams of a Samurai.

Mark E.Smith (The Fall)

Best known as the lead singer, lyricist and only constant member of the post-punk group The Fall, the late great English singer and songwriter Mark Edward Smith was born 5 March 1957.  His family moved to Prestwich when he was six months old, occupying the house they inherited after his grandfather’s death. Smith’s father died suddenly in 1989 of a heart attack. He has said that he didn’t become interested in music until he was about 14, when he discovered Captain Beefheart. He had early memories of The Beatles but remembered thinking that it was all a bit effeminate. He attended Sedgley Park Primary School, and later Stand Grammar School for Boys before quitting aged 16. That year, he left home and moved in with his girlfriend and future Fall keyboardist, Una Baines, later of the Blue Orchids. He subsequently took an evening class in A-level Literature. His first job was in a meat factory, before he became a shipping clerk on Salford docks.

Smith formed The Fall, named after the novel by Albert Camus, with friends Martin Bramah, Una Baines and Tony Friel, after attending a Sex Pistols gig at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in June 1976. After Smith dropped out of college at the age of 19. Originally they were named The Outsiders, after another Camus work. He subsequently gave up his job as a shipping clerk at Salford docks shortly afterward to devote his full energies to the band. The early Fall line-up came of age during the 1970s punk rock movement, although their music underwent numerous stylistic changes, often concurrently with changes in the group’s lineup. The band’s 40 year career can be broken into five broad periods, based on the band’s membership. These include their early late 1970s line-up, the classic Fall period of Hanley and dual drummers, the Brix years of 1984-89, their early 1990s revival, and everything after the on-stage fight in New York, after which Hanley quit and Smith was arrested.

Smith married the American guitarist and Fall member Brix Smith on 19 July 1983, after they met in Los Angeles during the band’s American tour earlier that year. They divorced in 1989, and he remarried twice after this. His second wife was Saffron Prior, who had worked for The Fall’s fan club; their marriage ended in 1995. He married Eleni Poulou, also called Elenor or Elena, in 2001. Poulou joined the band in September 2002 and left in July 2016. Smith and Poulou divorced in 2016, and Smith’s partner at the time of his death was his manager Pamela Vander.

Referring to the Fall’s 60-odd former members, Smith claimed that he had “only” fired around half the number of people he is said to have dismissed, and that some left of their own free will. He would fire musicians for seemingly trivial reasons; he once dismissed a sound engineer for eating a salad, later explaining that “the salad was the last straw”. Founding member Marc Riley was fired for dancing to a Deep Purple song during their Australian tour, although the two had had many arguments beforehand. Smith said that he often changed musicians so that they would not become lazy or complacent. When the influential British DJ and Fall supporter John Peel died in 2004, Smith made a notorious appearance on the BBC’s Newsnight show in which he seemed stunned and incoherent, and which he afterwards put down to a rare incidence of stage fright.

While the Fall never achieved widespread success beyond minor hit singles in the mid and late 1980s, they maintained a loyal cult following throughout their career. The widespread misunderstanding that the Fall was just a bunch of guys lead by MES is disproved by the reliance he had on a number of band members. In particular Steve Hanley is regarded as one of the most talented bassists of his generation, equal to Peter Hook, Andy Rourke or Gary Mounfield. During their 42-year existence, the Fall’s line-up included some 60 musicians who, with Smith, released 32 studio albums and many singles and EPs. His best-known recordings include “Totally Wired” and “Hit the North”.

Mark E. Smith was a long-term heavy drinker, Who had a difficult and complex personality. He was celebrated for his biting and targeted wit, evident in his acerbic but highly quotable interviews, for which he was much in demand by music journalists throughout his career. He was deeply suspicious of the trappings of fame, and largely avoided socialising with Fall associates. The dark and sardonic aspect of Smith’s personality often seeped into his lyrics, and he especially sought to avoid music industry people, who were the frequent targets of his diatribes. His vocal delivery included a characteristic of ending every line with “-ah” or “-uh”. Smith’s approach to music was also unconventional; he did not have a high regard for musicianship, believing that “rock & roll isn’t even music really. It’s a mistreating of instruments to get feelings over”; a tendency that contributed to the Fall’s high turnover of musicians.

Mark E. Smith tragically died 24 January 2018 and although notoriously difficult to work with, he was revered by fans and critics alike during his lifetime, and was described as a “strange kind of antimatter national treasure”. The Fall are also regarded as one of the premier post-punk bands.

Alan Clark (Dire Straits)

Alan Clark the keyboard player with Dire Straits was born 5th March 1952. Formed in 1977 by Brothers Mark (lead vocals and lead guitar)and David Knopfler (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), and friends John Illsley (bass guitar and backing vocals, and Pick Withers (drums and percussion), they recorded a five-song demo tape which included their future hit single, “Sultans of Swing”, as well as “Water of Love”, “Down to the Waterline”, “Wild West End” and David Knopfler’s “Sacred Loving”. The group’s first album, was intitled Dire Straits the album had little promotion when initially released in the United Kingdom.

However, the album came to the attention of A&R representative Karin Berg, at Warner Bros. Records in New York City who felt that it was the kind of music audiences were hungry for. In 1977 Dire Straits began a tour as opening band for the Talking Heads after the re-released “Sultans of Swing” which scaled the charts to number four in the United States and number eight in the United Kingdom. The song was one of Dire Straits’ biggest hits and became a fixture in the band’s live performances. “ Recording sessions for the group’s second album, Communiqué, took place in December 1978, Released in June 1979 Communiqué Featured the single “Lady Writer”, the second album continued in a similar vein as the first and displayed the expanding scope of Knopfler’s lyricism on the opening track, “Once Upon a Time in the West”. In 1980, Dire Straits were nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Sultans Of Swing.

In July 1980 the band started recording tracks for their third album. Making Movies which featured longer songs with more complex arrangements, a style which would continue for the rest of the band’s career. The album featured many of Mark Knopfler’s most personal compositions. The most successful chart single was “Romeo and Juliet” and was released in October 1980. Dire Straits’ fourth studio album Love Over Gold, was filled with lengthy, experimental songs, and was well received when it was released in September 1982, going gold in America and spending four weeks at number one in the United Kingdom, its main chart hit, “Private Investigations”, gave Dire Straits their first top 5 hit single in the United Kingdom, where it reached the number 2 position despite its almost seven-minute length, and became another of the band’s most popular live songs. along with “Industrial Disease”, a song that looks at the decline of the British manufacturing industry in the early 1980s. In 1983, a four-song EP titled ExtendedancEPlay was released while Love Over Gold was still in the album charts. It featured the hit single “Twisting By the Pool”. Dire Straits also embarked on a world tour. which resulted in The double album Alchemy Live, a recording of two live concerts of the group at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in July 1983.

Dire Straits returned to the recording studios In 1984 to record their biggest selling album to date, Brothers in Arms. This has so far sold over 30 million copies and contains the songs “Money for Nothing”, “Walk of Life”, “So Far Away”, “Your Latest Trick” and “Brothers in Arms”. Released in May 1985, Brothers In Arms entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1 and spent a total of 228 weeks in the charts, It went on to become the best-selling album of 1985 in the UK, “Money for Nothing” was also the first video ever to be played on MTV in Britain and featured guest vocals by Sting, who is credited with co-writing the song with Mark Knopfler, although in fact, it was just the inclusion of the melody line from “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”. Brothers in Arms was also among the first albums recorded on digital equipment due to Knopfler pushing for improved sound quality. The album’s title track is reported to be the world’s first CD single and The album is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first compact disc to sell a million copies.

The Dire Straits sound draws from a variety of musical influences, including jazz, folk, blues, and came closest to beat music within the context of rock and roll. Despite the prominence of punk rock during the band’s early years, the band’s stripped-down sound contrasted with punk, demonstrating a more “rootsy” influence that emerged out of pub rock. Many of Dire Straits’ compositions were melancholic and they have gone on to became one of the world’s most commercially successful bands, with worldwide album sales of over 120 million. making them One of the world’s best selling music artists, and their fifth album, Brothers in Arms, has won many accolades. In November 2009, Dire Straits were honoured by the new PRS for Music Heritage Award.

A special blue plaque was also erected at Farrer House, Church Street, Deptford in south London, where the original group, Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers once shared a council flat and performed their first ever gig in 1977. PRS for Music has set up the Heritage Award to recognise the unusual “performance birthplaces” of famous bands and artists. Dire Straits have also won numerous music awards during their career, including four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards—winning Best British Group twice, and two MTV Video Music Awards. The band’ most popular songs include “Sultans of Swing”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Tunnel of Love”, “Private Investigations” .Dire Straits’ career spanned 18 years. Mark Knopfler and John Illsley were the only two original bandmates who remained until Dire Straits disbanded in 1995 when Mark Knopfler launched his career full time as a solo artist.

Gloster Meteor

The Gloster Meteor jet fighter plane made it’s maiden flight on March 5 1943. It was the first British jet fighter and the Allies’ first operational jet aircraft during the Second World War. The Meteor’s development was heavily reliant on its ground-breaking turbojet engines, pioneered by Sir Frank Whittle and his company, Power Jets Ltd. Development of the aircraft itself began in 1940, although work on the engines had been underway since 1936. The Meteor first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with No. 616 Squadron RAF. Nicknamed the “Meatbox”, the Meteor was not a sophisticated aircraft in terms of its aerodynamics, but proved to be a successful combat fighter. Several major variants of the Meteor incorporated technological advances during the 1940s and 1950s. Thousands of Meteors were built to fly with the RAF and other air forces and remained in use for several decades. The Meteor saw limited action in the Second World War. Meteors of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) provided a significant contribution in the Korean War. Several other operators such as Argentina, Egypt and Israel flew Meteors in later regional conflicts. Specialised variants of the Meteor were developed for use in photo-reconnaissance and as night fighters.

The Meteor was also used for research and development purposes and broke several aviation records. On 7 November 1945, the first official air speed record by a jet aircraft was set by a Meteor F.3 of 606 miles per hour (975 km/h). In 1946, this record was broken when a Meteor F.4 reached a speed of 616 mph (991 km/h). Other performance-related records were broken in categories including flight time endurance, rate of climb, and speed. On 20 September 1945, a heavily modified Meteor I, powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent turbine engines driving propellers, became the first turboprop aircraft to fly. On 10 February 1954, a specially-adapted Meteor F.8, the “Meteor Prone Pilot”, which placed the pilot into a prone position to counteract inertial forces, took its first flight. During the 1950s, the Meteor became increasingly obsolete as more nations introduced jet fighters, with swept wing instead of the Meteor’s conventional straight wing; in RAF service, the Meteor was replaced by newer types such as the Hawker Hunter and Gloster Javelin. As of 2013, two Meteors, WL419 and WA638, remain in active service with the Martin-Baker company as ejection seat testbeds. Two further aircraft in the UK remain airworthy, as does another in Australia.

Goster Meteor

Supermarine Spitfire

The Supermarine Spitfire advanced monoplane fighter aircraft made it’s maiden flight on 5 March 1936. The Supermarine Spitfire was a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries during and after the Second World War. The Spitfire was built in many variants, using several wing configurations, and was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter to be in continuous production throughout the war. The Spitfire continues to be a popular aircraft, with approximately 53 Spitfires being airworthy, while many more are static exhibits in aviation museums all over the world.

The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works (which operated as a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong from 1928). In accordance with its role as an interceptor, Mitchell designed the Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing to have the thinnest possible cross-section; this thin wing enabled the Spitfire to have a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane. Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death from cancer in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith took over as chief designer, overseeing the development of the Spitfire through its multitude of variants. During the Battle of Britain (July–October 1940), the Spitfire was perceived by the public to be the RAF fighter, though the more numerous Hawker Hurricane shouldered a greater proportion of the burden against the Luftwaffe. However, because of its higher performance, Spitfire units had a lower attrition rate and a higher victory-to-loss ratio than those flying Hurricanes.

Supermarine Spitfire

Following the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire superseded the Hurricane to become the backbone of RAF Fighter Command, and saw action in the European, Mediterranean, Pacific and the South-East Asian theatres. The Spitfire was Much loved by its pilots, and was used in a number of roles, including interceptor, photo-reconnaissance, fighter-bomber and trainer, and it continued to serve in these roles until the 1950s. The Seafire was a carrier-based adaptation of the Spitfire which served in the Fleet Air Arm from 1942 through to the mid-1950s. Although the original airframe was designed to be powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine producing 1,030 hp (768 kW), it was strong enough and adaptable enough to use increasingly powerful Merlin and, in later marks, Rolls-Royce Griffon engines producing up to 2,340 hp (1,745 kW); as a consequence of this the Spitfire’s performance and capabilities improved, sometimes dramatically, over the course of its life. Today an example of the Supermarine Spitfire can be seen flying as part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and there are many static examples at various museums including RAF Cosford and RAF Duxford Aerospace Museums.

Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day

Shrove Tuesday (also known as Pancake Day) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Shrove Tuesday is observed mainly in English speaking countries, especially Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand and Canada but is also observed in Philippines and Germany. Shrove Tuesday is linked to Easter, so its date changes on an annual basis. In most traditions the day is known for the eating of pancakes before the start of Lent. Pancakes are eaten as they are made out of the main foods available, sugar, fat, flour and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting associated with Lent

Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foodstuffs such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. The liturgical fasting emphasized eating plainer food and refraining from food that would give pleasure: In many cultures, this means no meat, dairy, or eggs. In Canada, Australia, England, Ireland and New Zealand among Anglicans, Lutherans, some other Protestant denominations, including ethnic British communities, as well as Catholics, this day is also known as Pancake Tuesday, as it is customary to eat pancakes. In Newfoundland and Labrador small tokens are frequently cooked in the pancakes. Children take delight in discovering the objects, which are intended to be divinatory. For example, the person who receives a coin will be wealthy; a nail that they will be (or marry) a carpenter, and such (unless they swallow it) 😀

In England, as part of community celebration, many towns held traditional Shrove Tuesday football (‘Mob football’) games, dating as far back as the 12th century. The practice mostly died out in the 19th century, after the passing of the Highway Act 1835, which banned playing football on public highways. However A number of towns have maintained the tradition, including Alnwick in Northumberland, Ashbourne in Derbyshire (where it is called the Royal Shrovetide Football Match), Atherstone (called the Ball Game) in Warwickshire, Sedgefield (called the Ball Game) in County Durham, and St Columb Major (called Hurling the Silver Ball) in Cornwall.

It was once known as a ‘half-holiday’ in England. It started at 11:00am with the signalling of a church bell. On Pancake Day, pancake races are held in villages and towns across the United Kingdom. The tradition is said to have originated when a housewife from Olney was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the service. She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake.Since 1950 the people of Liberal, Kansas, and Olney have held the “International Pancake Day” race between the two towns. The two towns’ competitors race along an agreed-upon measured course. The times of the two towns’ competitors are compared, to determine a winner overall. A similar race is held in North Somercotes of Lincolnshire in eastern England. Scarborough celebrates by closing the foreshore to all traffic, closing schools early, and inviting all to skip. Traditionally, long ropes were used from the nearby harbour. The town crier rings the pancake bell, situated on the corner of Westborough (Main Street) and Huntress Row. The children of the hamlet of Whitechapel, Lancashire keep alive a local tradition by visiting local households and asking “please a pancake”, to be rewarded with oranges or sweets. It is thought the tradition arose when farm workers visited the wealthier farm and manor owners to ask for pancakes or pancake fillings. In Finland and Sweden, the day is associated with the almond paste-filled semla pastry.