Severn Valley Railway Spring Steam Gala 2019

The Severn Valley Railway Spring Steam Gala, takes place from March 15th until March 17th 2019 and features 10 steam locomotives. GWR No. 1450 was also due to work the push-pull autotrain however this will now be replaced by Pannier Tank No. 1501, which will be paired with Autocoach No. 178 and as No. 1501 is not auto-fitted, the service will no longer be push-pull. There are four visiting locomotives which will work alongside the home fleet for the gala. Visiting locomotives this year include:

  • GWR Pannier Tank No. 6430. This tank engine worked Autotrains in the South Wales Valleys from 1940 until 1954, being based at Pontypool and Newport during this time. With thanks to Llangollen Railway.
  • GWR Large Prairie No. 4144. This Large Prairie locomotive was Based at Tondu for a number of years,  and was used for hauling local passenger trains deep in South Wales. With thanks to Great Western Preservation.
  • GWR 5600 No. 5619 “Taffy Tank” This Locomotive regularly hauled Heavy coal trains before being preserved, having been based at Barry for a number of years. With thanks to Telford Horsehay Steam Trust.
  • LNWR ‘Coal Tank’ No. 1054.  This locomotive was built in 1888 and worked the last passenger train over the Merthyr & Abergavenny Railway on January 5th 1958. It was the last surviving member of its class, and was put into store at Abergavenny in the late 1950s where it was fitted with a snow plough in event of disruptive snowfalls during the winter months. It was brought out of storage to assist with the last passenger train over the Merthyr & Abergavenny Railway, on a special excursion. With thanks to the National Trust & Bahamas Locomotive Society.

Home fleet locomotives operating during the Severn Valley Railway Spring Steam Gala include:

  • GWR Saddle Tank No. 813. This locomotive was Originally built for the Port Talbot Railway & Docks Company, and was predominantly used for hauling coal trains and shunting in colliery sidings.
  • GWR Pannier Tank No. 1501. This locomotive was regularly used for hauling long rakes of empty coaching stock in and out of Paddington Station.
  • GWR heavy-freight 2-8-0 No. 2857. This Great Western frieght Locomotive ended its working life in Neath (having spent many years at other sheds in South Wales) after covering 1,276,713 miles.
  • GWR Pannier Tank 0-6-0 No. 7714. This was one of Hundreds of Pannier Tanks which were built for the Great Western Railway, with No. 7714 being based in mid-Wales until 1959 when it was sold to NCB Penallta Colliery in South Wales.
  • GWR Manor 4-6-0 No. 7802 Bradley Manor. The GWR 4-6-0 Manor locomotives are associated with the Cambrian Network, and No. 7802 Bradley Manor could often be found hauling the Cambrian Coast Express from Shrewsbury to the coast in the post-war years.
  • British Rail Standard 4 locomotive No. 75069 . This locomotive was originally built at Swindon Works. The Standard 4s could often be found operating in Wales, with No. 75069 ending up in Barry Scarpyard until it was overhauled at the Severn Valley Railway entering service again in 2019

Ides of March

The Ides of March (Latin: Idus Martiae, Late Latin: Idus Martii) is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to March 15. It was marked by several religious observances and was the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. The death of Caesar made the Ides of March a turning point in Roman history, as one of the events that marked the transition from the historical period known as the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.

Although March (Martius) was the third month of the Julian calendar, in the oldest Roman calendar it was the first month of the year. The Romans did not number days of a month sequentially from the first through the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (5th or 7th, depending on the length of the month), the Ides (13th or 15th), and the Kalends (1st of the following month). The Ides occurred near the midpoint, on the 13th for most months, but on the 15th for March, May, July, and October. The Ides were supposed to be determined by the full moon, reflecting the lunar origin of the Roman calendar.

The Ides of each month were sacred to Jupiter, the Romans’ supreme deity. The Flamen Dialis, Jupiter’s high priest, led the “Ides sheep” (ovis Idulius) in procession along the Via Sacra to the arx, where it was sacrificed. The Ides of March was also the occasion of the Feast of Anna Perenna, a goddess of the year (Latin annus) whose festival originally concluded the ceremonies of the new year. The day was enthusiastically celebrated among the common people with picnics, drinking, and revelry. Mamuralia may also have taken place on the Ides of March.

In the later Imperial period, the Ides began a “holy week” of festivals for Cybele and Attis. The Ides was the day of Canna intrat (“The Reed enters”), when Attis was born and discovered as an infant among the reeds of a Phrygian river by either shepherds or the goddess Cybele, who was also known as the Magna Mater (“Great Mother”). 22 March, the day of Arbor intrat (“The Tree enters”) commemorated the death of Attis under a pine tree. Another festival involves A college of priests called dendrophoroi (“tree bearers”) who cut down a tree,suspended from it an image of Attis, and carried it to the temple of the Magna Mater with lamentations. A three-day period of mourning followed, culminating with the rebirth of Attis on 25 March, which corresponds with the date of the vernal equinox on the Julian calendar.

The Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius, were involved. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. This meeting is famously dramatised in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to “beware the Ides of March.” The Roman biographer Suetonius identifies the “seer” as a haruspex named Spurinna.Caesar’s death caused a crisis in the Roman Republic, and triggered the civil war that would result in the rise to sole power of his adopted heir Octavian (later known as Augustus). Since Caesar was also the Pontifex Maximus of Rome and a priest of Vesta. On the fourth anniversary of Caesar’s death in 40 BC, after achieving a victory at the siege of Perugia, Octavian executed 300 senators and knights who had fought against him under Lucius Antonius, the brother of Mark Antony to avenge Caesar’s death.

Rolls Royce

Renowned Luxury British Car Manufacturer Rolls-Royce Limited was incorporated on 15th March 1906. The Company started in In 1884, by Henry Royce . who started an electrical and mechanical business and made his first car, a two-cylinder Royce 10, in his Manchester factory in 1904, and was introduced to Charles Rolls at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on 4 May of that year. Rolls was proprietor of an early motor car dealership, C.S.Rolls & Co. in Fulham.In spite of his preference for three or four cylinder cars, Rolls was impressed with the Royce 10, and in a subsequent agreement of 23 December 1904 agreed to take all the cars Royce could make. All would be badged as Rolls-Royces, and be sold exclusively by Rolls. The first Rolls-Royce car, the Rolls-Royce 10 hp, was unveiled at the Paris Salon in December 1904. Rolls-Royce Limited was formed on 15 March 1906, by which time it was apparent that new premises were required for production of cars. After considering sites in Manchester, Coventry, Bradford and Leicester, they moved to Derby. The new factory was largely designed by Royce, and production began in early 1908, with a formal opening on 9 July 1908 by Sir John Montagu. During 1906 Royce had been developing an improved six-cylinder model with more power than the 30hp. Initially designated the 40/50 hp, this was the company’s first all-new model. In March 1908 Claude Johnson, Commercial Managing Director and sometimes described as the hyphen in Rolls-Royce,succeeded in persuading Royce and the other directors that Rolls-Royce should concentrate exclusively on the new model, and all the earlier models were duly discontinued. After the First World War, Rolls-Royce successfully avoided attempts to encourage the British car manufacturers to merge. Faced with falling sales of the 40/50 (later known as Silver Ghost) the company introduced the smaller, cheaper Twenty in 1922, effectively ending the one-model policy followed since 1908.

After the introduction of the Phantom model in 1925 this 40/50 model was referred to as the Silver Ghost. The new 40/50 was responsible for the company’s early reputation with over 6,000 built. In 1921, the company opened a second factory in Springfield, Massachusetts in the United States (to help meet demand), where a further 1,701 “Springfield Ghosts” were built. This factory operated for 10 years, closing in 1931. Its chassis was used as a basis for the first British armoured car used in both world wars.In 1931 Rolls-Royce acquired the much smaller rival car maker Bentley after the latter’s finances failed to weather the onset of the Great Depression. From soon after World War II until 2002 standard Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars were often identical apart from the radiator grille and minor details.In 1933, the colour of the Rolls-Royce radiator monogram was changed from red to black because the red sometimes clashed with the coachwork colour selected by clients, and not as a mark of respect for the passing of Royce as is commonly stated. Rolls-Royce and Bentley car production moved to Crewe in 1946 where they began to assemble complete cars with bodies from the Pressed Steel Company (the new standard steel models) for the first time. Previously they had built only the chassis, leaving the bodies to specialist coach-builders.

Rolls-Royce also started to produce diesel engines in 1951. Initially, these were intended for heavy tractors and earth-movers but, later, they were installed in lorries (e.g. Scammell), railcars, diesel multiple units and Sentinel shunting locomotives. Rolls-Royce took over Sentinel’s Shrewsbury factory for diesel engine production in 1956. The Rolls-Royce diesel business was acquired by Perkins in the 1980s. In 1971, Rolls-Royce was crippled by the costs of developing the advanced RB211 jet engine, resulting in the nationalization of the company as Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited. In 1973, the car division was separated from the parent company as Rolls-Royce Motors. Rolls Royce also made Torque converters and railcar engines were often used with Twin Disc torque converters which were built by Rolls-Royce under licence from Twin Disc of the USA. “Twin Disc” is the name of the company (which originally manufactured friction clutches) and does not describe the construction of the torque converter.Sadly in 1971 Financial problems caused largely by development of the new RB211 turbofan engine led – after several cash subsidies – to the company being nationalised by the government. (Delay in production of the RB211 engine has been blamed for the failure of the technically advanced Lockheed TriStar, which was beaten to launch by its chief competitor, the Douglas DC-10.) and in 1973 the motor car business was spun off as a separate entity, Rolls-Royce Motors. The main business of aircraft and marine engines remained in public ownership until 1987, when it was privatised as Rolls-Royce plc, one of many privatisations of the Thatcher government.

TOM CHILTON

British Touring Car driver and Hairdressing Legend Tom Chilton was born 15th March 1985. Tom was educated at Reigate St. Mary’s School and Shiplake College. A keen racer from an early age, he competed in the BRSCC T-Cars Championship in 1999 and 2000, going on to take the BRSCC Saloon Car winter championship in 2001.Turning his attention to the BTCC, he was team mate to ex-Superbike racer Aaron Slight in 2002 driving a Vauxhall Astra Coupé for Barwell Motorsport. He proved to be very quick, and although his lack of experience counted against him he nevertheless finished the season in 15th place overall and 5th in the Independents’ Cup.

In 2003 he finished in 9th place overall driving a works Honda Civic Type-R run by Arena Motorsport alongside Matt Neal and Alan Morrison. With Honda withdrawing manufacturer support for 2004, Arena only had the budget to run a single car for Chilton. However, the car was still well-prepared and he came through to take his first victory during the 9th race of the season, at Silverstone, in the process becoming the youngest winner of a BTCC race. He won again in the 29th race at Donington. His plans for 2005 centered around the DTM with a new programme backed by MG Rover, but this fell through with the demise of the British marque. He and Arena rejoined the BTCC at the second meeting of the season and combined his touring car duties with racing for Zytek in the ALMS and LMS endurance series. Chilton won in both ALMS and LMS racing. He was classified 5th in the 2005 British Touring Car Championship season despite only starting 24 of the 30 races. Chilton’s involvement with Zytek continued, subject to funding and availability; Tom and his brother Max drove the car at the Silverstone 1000 km in September 2007.

VX Racing signed him for 2006 to drive the #5 Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch. In a disappointing season for Vauxhall, Chilton never won a race and slipped to 7th overall. However, Vauxhall retained Chilton and Fabrizio Giovanardi for 2007, but Chilton did not want to stay at VX Racing in 2008.For 2009 Chilton returned to Arena Motorsport to drive a Ford Focus ST in the BTCC under the Team Aon banner, but spent much of the year developing the car and he ended the season 13th in the drivers’ standings. He remained with the team for 2010. The LPG-powered car was more competitive, taking four of the first five poles, but bad luck meant team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole took better results than Chilton initially. Both were on the podium in race two at Snetterton. At Silverstone the team was dominant, and Chilton was allowed to take both wins ahead of team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole, who finished ahead in the overall drivers’ championship but Chilton secured the Independents’ Trophy by a two point margin over Steven Kane.For 2011 the team developed a new car based on the new third generation Ford Focus which ran to Super 2000 regulations powered by an NGTC turbocharged engine. Results were poor initially as the car was developed but Chilton took the car to pole position at Knockhill, going on to win race one. He also won the final race of the season at Silverstone. He finished the year 7th in the drivers’ championship on 197 points.

Chilton made his debut in the World Touring Car Championship in 2012, driving for the Arena Motorsport team with their Ford Focus S2000 TC alongside fellow WTCC debutant James Nash. Although he was new to the championship, Chilton was ruled out of the Yokohama Trophy due to his experience in the BTCC as both a privateer and a works driver. In race one in Morocco, he scored the first points for Ford in their WTCC return after coming home in seventh place.He scored another point in race two in Slovakia. Chilton was given a five place grid penalty for a collision during qualifying for the Race of Austria, he locked up down the inside of Franz Engstler and made contact, putting Engstler out of Q1.An engine change for both Fords at the Race of Japan sent Chilton to the back of the grid for the first race. In the final race at Macau, Chilton lost control in the oil left on the track from Alex MacDowall’s collision with the barrier on lap 4, the subsequent crash forced him to retire. Chilton finishes 22nd in the drivers’ standings, two places behind team mate Nash. Chilton moved to RML for the 2013 season, driving a Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T alongside former world champion Yvan Muller.

He was also one of many racing drivers rumoured to be The Stig on BBC2 show Top Gear, after the previous Stig revealed his identity and has appeared in five series of Top Gear. He was one of the drivers in the People Carrier Race. He then again appeared as one of the drivers in the Toyota Aygo football match and also raced a Chevrolet motorhome with other touring car drivers as well as Richard Hammond and has also raced (and then rolled over) a double decker bus, and had earlier on in the episode raced against Jeremy Clarkson whilst driving a BMW M3. He has also appeared in Top Gear, racing against other touring car drivers, driving many other vehicles including, airport vehicles, buses and taxis, with most of these races ending in absolute carnage.

Phil Lesh

Phil Lesh the Bass Player with the Grateful Dead was born March 15 1940. Grateful Dead were formed in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area and became known for their unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, and space rock. These various influences made the Grateful Dead “the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world.” They were ranked 57th rolling Stone’s Greatest Artists of all Time poll and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and their Barton Hall Concert at Cornell University was added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.The founding members of the Grateful Dead were Jerry Garcia (guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (guitar, vocals), Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (keyboards, harmonica, vocals), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals), and Bill Kreutzmann (drums).

Lesh was the last member to join the Warlocks before they became the Grateful Dead; he replaced Dana Morgan Jr., who had played bass for a few gigs. With the exception of McKernan, who died in 1973, the core of the band stayed together for its entire 30-year history. The Grateful Dead began their career as the Warlocks, in early 1965 from the remnants of a jug band called Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, although The band later changed their name to The Grateful Dead, I.e “the soul of a dead person, or his angel, showing gratitude to someone who, arranged their burial.”One of the group’s earliest major performances in 1967 was at the Avalon Ballroom by the San Francisco Hare Krishna temple, where The Grateful Dead performed alongside the Hare Krishna founder Bhaktivedanta Swami, poet Allen Ginsberg, bands Moby Grape and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, donating proceeds to the Krishna temple.

The band’s first LP, The Grateful Dead, was released in 1967. 1970 included tour dates in New Orleans, Louisiana, where the band performed at The Warehouse for two nights. Mickey Hart quit the Grateful Dead in February 1971, leaving Kreutzmann once again as the sole percussionist. However Hart rejoined the Grateful Dead in October 1974. Tom “TC” Constanten was added as a second keyboardist from 1968 to 1970, while Pigpen also played various percussion instruments and sang. Following the Grateful Dead’s “Europe ’72″ tour, Pigpen’s health seriously deteriorated and he could no longer tour with the band. His final concert appearance was June 17, 1972 at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles and died in March, 1973 of complications from alcohol abuse. The Grateful Dead formed their own record group, Grateful Dead Records & released the album, the jazz influenced Wake of the Flood in 1973 and in 1974 they released the classic album, Grateful Dead from the Mars Hotel. Then the Grateful Dead decided to take a break from live touring, however This hiatus was short lived, and they resumed touring in 1976, and released the album Terrapin Station in 1977. During the 1980s the bands sound transformed. Sadly though Garcia’s health began to decline. His drug habits caused him to lose his liveliness on stage. After kicking his drug habit in 1985, he slipped into a diabetic coma for several days in July 1986. After he recovered, the band released In the Dark in 1987, which resulted as their best selling studio album release, and also produced their only top-10 chart single, Touch of Grey. Inspired by Garcia’s improved health and a successful album, the band’s energy and chemistry peaked in the late 1980s and 1990 and they enjoyed a resurgence in their popularity.

Unfortunately Mydland tragically died in 1990. So Vince Welnick, joined on keyboards and vocals and Bruce Hornsby joined the band on Piano and vocals on September 15, 1990.The fans of the Grateful Dead, some of whom followed the band from concert to concert for years, are known as “Deadheads” and are known for their dedication to the band’s music. From 2003 to 2009 former members of the Grateful Dead, along with other musicians, toured as The Dead and The Other Ones. There are many contemporary incarnations of the Dead, with the most prominent touring acts being Furthur and Phil Lesh & Friends and although Jerry Garcia, Brent Mydland and Bruce Welnick have passed away, the Grateful Dead have a cult following and remain popular and during 2015 The Grateful Dead played a final series of concerts on the Fare thee Well tour to celebrate 50 years before finally disbanding.

Sly Stone

American musician, songwriter, and record producer Sly Stone was born March 15th 1943, He most famous for his role as frontman of Sly & the Family Stone, a band which played a critical role in the development of soul, funk and psychedelia in the 1960s and 1970s, with songs like “Stand“, “I Want To Take You Higher”, “Sing A Simple Song”, “If You Want Me To Stay“, and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” In 1993, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Along with James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic, Sly & the Family Stone were pioneers of late 1960s and early ’70s funk. Their fusion of R&B rhythms, infectious melodies, and psychedelia created a new pop/soul/rock hybrid the impact of which has proven lasting and widespread. Motown producer Norman Whitfield, for example, patterned the label’s forays into harder-driving, socially relevant material (such as The Temptations’ “Runaway Child” and “Ball of Confusion”) based on their sound. The pioneering precedent of Stone’s racial, sexual, and stylistic mix, had a major influence in the 1980s on artists such as Prince and Rick James. Legions of artists from the 1990s forward — including Public Enemy, Fatboy Slim, Beck and many others — mined Stone’s seminal back catalog for hook-laden samples. After a mildly received debut album, A Whole New Thing (1967), Sly & The Family Stone had their first hit single with “Dance to the Music“, which was later included on an album of the same name (1968). Although their third album, Life (also 1968), also suffered from low sales, their fourth album, Stand! (1969), became a runaway success, selling over three million copies and spawning a number one hit single, “Everyday People“. By the summer of 1969, Sly & The Family Stone were one of the biggest names in music, releasing three more top five singles, “Hot Fun in the Summertime” and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” / “Everybody Is a Star”, before the end of the year, and appearing at Woodstock.

Infortunately the band’s new found fame and success caused numerous problems. Relationships within the band were deteriorated particular between the Stone brothers & Bass player Larry Graham. After moving to the Los Angeles area in 1969, Stone and his bandmates became heavy users of illegal drugs, As the members became increasingly focused on drug use and partying (Stone carried a violin case filled with illegal drugs wherever he went), recording slowed significantly. Between summer 1969 and fall 1971, the band released only one single, which was one of the first recordings to employ the heavy, funky beats that would be featured in the funk music of the following decade. It showcased Graham’s innovative percussive playing technique of bass “slapping”. During this time Stone’s behavior became increasingly erratic. new material was anticipated in 1970, but with none forthcoming, a Greatest Hits album was released that November. One year later, the band’s fifth album, There’s a Riot Goin’ On, was released. Riot featured a much darker sound as most tracks were recorded with overdubbing as opposed to The Family Stone all playing at the same time as they had done previously. Stone played most of the parts himself and performed more of the lead vocals than usual. It was also the first major label album to feature a drum machine. The band’s cohesion slowly began to erode, and its sales and popularity began to decline as well. Live bookings for Sly & the Family Stone had also steadily dropped since 1970. The final straw came In January 1975, after the band booked itself at Radio City Music Hall. The famed music hall was only one-eighth occupied, and Stone and company had to scrape together money to return home, Following the Radio City engagement, the band split.

On Sunday, January 14, 2007 Stone made a short guest appearance at a show of The New Family Stone band he supports at the House of Blues. On April 1, 2007, Stone appeared with the Family Stone at the Flamingo Las Vegas Showroom, after George Wallace’s standup act. On July 7, 2007 Stone also made a short appearance with the Family Stone at the San Jose, CA Summerfest. On Labor Day, September 7, 2009, Stone emerged at the 20th annual African Festival of the Arts in Chicago, Ill. He performed a 15 minute set during George Clinton’s Performance. He performed his popular hits along with George Clinton’s band. He left immediately after his short performance. On December 6, 2009, Sly signed a new recording contract with the LA based Cleopatra Records and on August 16, 2011, I’m Back! Family & Friends was released, the first Sly Stone album since 1982′s Ain’t But the One Way. The album features re-recorded versions of Sly & the Family Stone’s greatest hits with guest appearances from Jeff Beck, Ray Manzarek, Bootsy Collins, Ann Wilson, Carmine Appice and Johnny Winter, as well as three previously unreleased songs.

Bret Michaels

American singer-songwriter and musician Bret Michaels was born 15 March 1963. He gained fame as the lead singer of the glam metal band Poison. Michaels began his performing career with a basement band called Laser and, then, in 1979, joined forces with longtime childhood friend Rockett to form a band called the Spectres. In 1980, Michaels and Rockett teamed up with Smith and Dall to form the band Paris and the group started playing the club circuit, performing mostly rock cover songs in local bars. the band moved to Los Angeles on March 6, 1980 and also changed the name of the group from Paris to Poison. Poison were formed in 1983, in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and consisted of lead vocalist Bret Michaels, guitarist Matt Smith, bassist Bobby Dall and drummer Rikki Rockett. Poison promoted themselves up and made the rounds performing in the famous local clubs. Matt Smith left and The band auditioned for a replacement guitarist, eventually narrowing down the field to three candidates: Slash, who would later join Guns N’ Roses; Steve Silva from the Joe Perry Project; and New York-born guitarist C.C. DeVille.Eventually choosing C.C. DeVille

Michaels, Rockett, Dall, and DeVille released Their debut album, Look What the Cat Dragged In, August 2, 1986. Including the songs, “Cry Tough”; “Talk Dirty to Me”, “I Want Action”, and “I Won’t Forget You. Poison’s second album, Open Up and Say…Ahh!, was released in 1988 and included the songs “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, “Nothin’ but a Good Time”, “Fallen Angel”, and “Your Mama Don’t Dance”. Poison sold over 50 million records worldwide and has sold 15 million records in the United States alone. The band has also charted ten singles to the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, including six Top 10 singles and the Hot 100 number-one, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”.

Poison released their third consecutive multi-platinum selling album, Flesh & Blood in 1990 containing the singles: “Unskinny Bop”, “Ride the Wind”, Life Goes On”,”Flesh & Blood (Sacrifice)”and the ballad “Something To Believe In” which was dedicated to the band’s security guard and close friend James Kimo Maano who had recently died. ” In the 1990s following the release of the band’s first live album, Swallow This Live, the band experienced some line up changes and the fall of pop metal with the grunge movement, but despite a drop in popularity the band’s fourth studio album, Native Tongue, still achieved Gold status and the band’s first compilation album, Poison’s Greatest Hits: 1986–1996, went double platinum.

In the 2000s, with the original line up back together, the band found new popularity after a successful greatest hits reunion tour in 1999. The band began the new decade with the release of the long-awaited Crack a Smile… and More!, followed by the Power to the People album. The band toured almost every year to sold out stadiums and arenas. They released a brand new album, Hollyweird, in 2002 and in 2006 the band celebrated their 20-year anniversary with The Best of Poison: 20 Years of Rock tour and album, which was certified Gold and marked Poison’s return to the Billboard top 20 charts for the first time since 1993. Since their debut in 1986, they have released seven studio albums, four live albums, five compilation albums, and have issued 28 singles to radio.

Brett Michaels has also released several solo recordings including the soundtrack album to the movie A Letter from Death Row, Songs of Life, in 2003. Michaels has also appeared in several movies and TV shows, including as a judge on the talent show Nashville Star. He starred in the hit VH1 reality show Rock of Love with Bret Michaels and its sequels, then released Rock My World. In 2006, Hit Parader ranked Michaels at #1 on their list of greatest Heavy metal singers of all-time.

After 25 years, Poison are still recording music and performing. In 2012 VH1 ranked them at #1 on their list of the “Top 5 Hair Bands of the ’80s”. They have sold over 50 million records worldwide and 15 million records in the United States alone. The band has also charted ten singles to the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, including six Top 10 singles and a number-one single, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”.

H. P. Lovecraft

Prolific American horror, fantasy and Science Fiction author Howard Phillips Lovecraft tragically died on March 15, 1937, in Providence. He was born August 20, 1890, known as H. P. Lovecraft he wrote mostly horror, fantasy, poetry and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction. Lovecraft’s guiding aesthetic and philosophical principle was what he termed “cosmicism” or “cosmic horror”, the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally inimical to the interests of humankind. As such, his stories express a profound indifference to human beliefs and affairs. Lovecraft is the originator of the Cthulhu Mythos story cycle and the Necronomicon, a fictional magical textbook of rites and forbidden lore.

Some of Lovecraft’s work was inspired by his own nightmares. His interest started from his childhood days when his grandfather would tell him Gothic horror stories. Lovecraft’s biggest influence was Edgar Allan Poe and forbidden knowledge Is often a central theme in many of Lovecraft’s works.Many of his characters are driven by curiosity or scientific endeavor, and in many of his stories the knowledge they uncover proves Promethean in nature, either filling the seeker with regret for what they have learned, destroying them psychically, or completely destroying the person who holds the knowledge. Some critics argue that this theme is a reflection of Lovecraft’s contempt of the world around him, causing him to search inwardly for knowledge and inspiration. The beings of Lovecraft’s mythos often have human (or mostly human) servants; Cthulhu, for instance, is worshiped under various names by cults amongst both the Eskimos of Greenlandand voodoo circles of Louisiana, and in many other parts of the world.

These worshippers served as inspiration for Lovecraft. Many beings of the Mythos were too powerful to be defeated by human opponents, and so horrific that direct knowledge of them meant insanity for the victim. When dealing with such beings, Lovecraft needed a way to provide exposition and build tension without bringing the story to a premature end. Human followers gave him a way to reveal information about their “gods” in a diluted form, and also made it possible for his protagonists to win paltry victories. Lovecraft, like his contemporaries, envisioned “savages” as closer to supernatural knowledge unknown to civilized man. Another recurring theme in Lovecraft’s stories is the idea that descendants in a bloodline can never escape the stain of crimes committed by their forebears, at least if the crimes are atrocious enough. Descendants may be very far removed, both in place and in time (and, indeed, in culpability), from the act itself, and yet, they may be haunted by the revenant past, e.g. “The Rats in the Walls”, “The Lurking Fear”, “Arthur Jermyn”, “The Alchemist”, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, “The Doom that Came to Sarnath” and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

Often in Lovecraft’s works the protagonist is not in control of his own actions, or finds it impossible to change course. Many of his characters would be free from danger if they simply managed to run away; but are being prevented by some outside force, such as in “The Colour Out of Space” and “The Dreams in the Witch House”. Often his characters are subject to a compulsive influence from powerful malevolent or indifferent beings. As with the inevitability of one’s ancestry, eventually even running away, or death itself, provides no safety (“The Thing on the Doorstep”, “The Outsider”, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, etc.). In some cases, humanity itself is doomed and no escape is possible (“The Shadow Out of Time”). Lovecraft was also familiar with the work of the German conservative-revolutionary theorist Oswald Spengler, whose pessimistic thesis of the decadence of the modern West formed a crucial element in Lovecraft’s overall anti-modern worldview. Spenglerian imagery of cyclical decay is present in At the Mountains of Madness. The book H. P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West, places Spengler at the center of his discussion of Lovecraft’s political and philosophical ideas.

H. P. Lovecraft’s writing, particularly the so-called Cthulhu Mythos, has influenced fiction authors including modern horror and fantasy writers such as Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Bentley Little, Joe R. Lansdale, Alan Moore, Junji Ito, F. Paul Wilson, Brian Lumley, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Neil Gaiman, have cited Lovecraft as one of their primary influences. Beyond direct adaptation, Lovecraft and his stories have had a profound impact on popular culture. Some influence was direct, as he was a friend, inspiration, and correspondent to many of his contemporaries, such as August Derleth, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch and Fritz Leiber. Many later figures were influenced by Lovecraft’s works, including author and artist Clive Barker, prolific horror writer Stephen King, comics writers Alan Moore and Mike Mignola, film directors John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, Guillermo Del Toro and artist H. R. Giger.

Japan has also been significantly inspired and terrified by Lovecraft’s creations and thus even entered the manga and anime media. Chiaki J. Konaka is an acknowledged Lovecraft disciple and has participated in Cthulhu Mythos, expanding several Japanese versions. Anime scriptwriter Cascade also tends to add horror elements and is credited for spreading the popularity of Lovecraft among anime base. Manga artist Junji Ito is also inspired by Lovecraft.

Although Lovecraft’s readership was limited during his lifetime, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century. According to Joyce Carol Oates, an award-winning author, Lovecraft—as with Edgar Allan Poe in the 19th century—has exerted “an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction”. Science fiction and fantasy authorStephen King called Lovecraft “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale. King has made it clear in his non-fiction book danse Macabre that Lovecraft was responsible for King’s own fascination with horror and the macabre, and was the single largest figure to influence his fiction writing. Sadly though in 1936, Lovecraft was diagnosed with cancer of the small intestine, and as a result he suffered from malnutrition and lived in constant pain until his death. However Lovecraft’s legacy lives on and his stories have been adapted into plays, films and games, such as Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth and id Software’s Quake.