Posted in Uncategorized

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week, takes place this year from Monday 18 May to Sunday 24 May. Mental health describes the level of psychological well-being or an absence of mental illness. It is the state of someone who is “functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment”. From the perspectives of positive psychology or of holism, mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health includes “subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential, among others”. The WHO further states that the well-being of an individual is encompassed in the realization of their abilities, coping with normal stresses of life, productive work, and contribution to their community. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how one defines “mental health”

The aim of Mental Health Awareness week is to raise awareness of a topic related to mental health and to provide support for those who need it. Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK was conceived by the Mental Health Foundation, in 1949 and The first Mental Health Awareness Week took place in 2001, and. It has gone on to become one of the most significant mental health awareness observances in the world. The theme for Mental Health Awareness week 2020 is Kindness. In the US, Mental Health Awareness Week is observed in October, coinciding with World Mental Health Day on 10 October.

Posted in music

Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave)

Chris Cornell, the lead singer of the Seattle-based bands Soundgarden, and Audioslave suddenly died 17 May 2017, aged 52. Born Christopher Boyle in Seattle, to Ed Boyle, a pharmacist, and Karen (nee Cornell), an accountant, Chris had three younger sisters and two older brothers. After his parents’ divorce, when Chris was a teenager, he and his siblings took their mother’s maiden name. He attended a Catholic elementary school, Christ the King, then Shorewood high school, but left education at 16, and worked various jobs (including sous-chef at Ray’s Boathouse restaurant).

He eventually found his feet as a musician, when he joined a covers band called The Shemps, and it was while performing with the Shemps, that he met Kim Thayil and Hiro Yamamoto, with whom he subsequently formed Soundgarden. Soundgarden were one of the trailblazers of the city’s grunge movement in the late 1980s and 90s. Soundgarden were started in 1984 by Cornell, along with guitarist Kim Thayil and bass player Hiro Yamamoto, with Matt Cameron becoming their full-time drummer in 1986. After releasing a single, Hunted Down (1987) on the Seattle-based Sub Pop label, and a debut album, Ultramega OK (1988), for the independent SST, Yamamoto left the band, and was briefly replaced by Jason Everman, formerly of Nirvana, before Ben Shepherd joined on bass. Soundgarden signed to A&M records, and their second release for that label, Badmotorfinger (1991), became a multi-platinum seller in the US, also reaching the Top 40 in the UK. The singles from that album, Outshined and Rusty Cage, received heavy play on alternative radio stations and MTV, and Badmotorfinger earned a Grammy nomination in 1992.

Soundgarden opened for Guns N’ Roses on their Use Your Illusion tour (1991-93) and Skid Row, this introduced them to huge new audiences in both the US and Europe. They also appeared on the 1992 Lollapalooza tour alongside Ministry, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and fellow Seattleites Pearl Jam. This solidified Soundgarden as one of the rising names in American alternative rock. (In 1990 Cornell had joined with members of Pearl Jam to form Temple of the Dog, in tribute to the late Andy Wood of another Seattle band, Mother Love Bone. They released an eponymous album in 1991, and last year reunited for a 25th-anniversary tour.) Cornell also had a solo cameo performance in Cameron Crowe’s 1992 Seattle-based romcom Singles, with his gentle acoustic track Seasons.

Soundgarden’s next album, Superunknown (1994), topped the US chart (and reached No 4 in the UK), and went on to sell 5m copies in the States alone. After extensive international touring, Soundgarden started work on their fifth album, Down on the Upside, though Cornell’s desire to lighten the group’s dark, metallic sound with acoustic instruments triggered arguments with his bandmates. Down the Upside was released in 1996, and After a further marathon bout of touring, the group announced they were splitting in April 1997.

Having achieved stardom with Soundgarden, he went on to further great success with Audioslave in the new millennium, while also developing a flourishing solo career and his first solo album, Euphoria Morning, in 1999. This found him exploring a mix of rock, pop and psychedelia, allowing him to use different facets of his impressive vocal range beyond a heavy-rock roar, though again critical enthusiasm did not translate into huge sales. But his solo career was put on hold when he formed Audioslave in 2001, with former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford, who had been recommended Cornell by the producer Rick Rubin.

Between 2002 & 2006 Audioslave recorded three albums, Audioslave (2002), Out of Exile (2005) and Revelations (2006). Audioslave was by far the most successful, selling 3m albums in the States and spinning off five hit singles including Cochise, Like a Stone and I Am the Highway. The release of Revelations (which reached No 2 on the US charts and 12 in Britain) was preceded by the appearance of two of its tracks, Wide Awake and Shape of Things to Come, in Michael Mann’s film Miami Vice (2006).

In 2006, Cornell composed and recorded You Know My Name, the theme song for the James Bond movie Casino Royale. He put out his second solo effort, Carry On, in 2007, and promoted it with a campaign of touring, both in his own right and as a support act to Aerosmith. Cornell quit Audioslave in early 2007. This was a significant period in his career, since he had been suffering from problems with drug and alcohol abuse during his later years with Soundgarden, and had made a strenuous effort to overcome them. “It was really hard to recover from, just mentally,” he recalled. “I think Audioslave suffered from that because my feet hadn’t hit the ground yet. I was sober but I don’t think my brain was clear … It took me five years of sobriety to even get certain memories back.”

In 2009 he released his next album, Scream, on which he collaborated with the producer Timbaland. It reached No 10 on the US album chart, Cornell’s highest solo chart placing. In 2011 he released the live album Songbook, a document of his solo acoustic Songbook tour on which he played songs from all phases of his career as well as versions of Led Zeppelin’s Thank You and John Lennon’s Imagine. He also began working with the reformed Soundgarden, who released the compilation Telephantasm: A Retrospective (2010). Their first new song to go public was Live to Rise, which featured in the 2012 movie The Avengers, and later that year they followed up with an album of new material, King Animal (it reached No 5 in the US and 21 in Britain). Cornell’s most recent solo album was Higher Truth (2015), a mellow, melodic work, which entered the US Top 20.

He is survived by his wife, Vicky Karayiannis, whom he married in 2004, their son, Christopher Nicholas, their daughter, Toni, and by a daughter, Lillian, from his first marriage, to Susan Silver, which ended in divorce. At the time of his death, Cornell was in the middle of a tour with Soundgarden, who had re-formed after a 13-year hiatus, and had just performed at the Fox theatre in Detroit.

Posted in music

Ian Curtis (Joy Division)

Best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the post-punk band Joy Division, the English musician, singer and songwriter Ian Curtis tragically committed suicide on 18 May 1980, on the eve of Joy Division’s first North American tour. Joy Division released their debut album, Unknown Pleasures, in 1979 and recorded their follow-up, Closer, In 1980. Curtis became known for his baritone voice, dance style, and songwriting filled with imagery of desolation, emptiness and alienation.In 1995, Curtis’ widow Deborah published Touching from a Distance: Ian Curtis and Joy Division, a biography of the singer. His life and death have been dramatised in the films 24 Hour Party People (2002) and Control In 1976 , Curtis met Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook at a Sex Pistols gig. They were trying to form a band, and Curtis immediately proposed himself as vocalist and lyricist.

The trio then unsuccessfully recruited a number of drummers before selecting Stephen Morris as their final member. Initially the band was called Warsaw, but as their name conflicted with the group, Warsaw Pakt, the name was changed to Joy Division. The moniker was derived from a 1955 novel The House of Dolls, which featured a Nazi concentration camp with a sexual slavery wing called the “Joy Division”. After starting Factory Records with Alan Erasmus, Tony Wilson signed the band to his label following the band’s appearance on Wilson’s Something Else television programme, itself prompted by an abusive letter sent to Wilson by Curtis.

Whilst performing for Joy Division, Curtis became known for his quiet and awkward demeanour, as well as a unique dancing style reminiscent of the epileptic seizures he experienced, sometimes even on stage.There were several incidents when he collapsed and had to be helped off stage. In an interview for Northern Lights cassette magazine in November 1979, Ian Curtis made his only public comment on his dancing and performance. He explained the dance as a type of sign language with which to further express a song’s emotional and lyrical content: “Instead of just singing about something you could show it as well, put it over in the way that it is, if you were totally involved in what you were doing”. Curtis’ writing was filled with imagery of emotional isolation, death, alienation, and urban decay. He sang in a baritone voice, in contrast to his speaking voice, which fell in the tenor range.

Earlier in their career, Curtis would sing in a loud snarling voice similar to shouting; as on the band’s debut EP, An Ideal for Living (1978). producer Martin Hannett developed Joy Division’s sparse recording style, and some of their most innovative work was created in Strawberry Studios in Stockport ( 10cc) and Cargo Recording Studios Rochdale in 1979), which was developed from John Peel’s investing money into the music business in Rochdale. Although predominantly a vocalist, Curtis also played guitar on a handful of tracks (usually when Sumner was playing synthesizer; “Incubation” and a Peel Session version of “Transmission” were rare instances when both played guitar). At first Curtis played Sumner’s Shergold Masquerader, but in September 1979 he acquired his own guitar, a Vox Phantom Special VI which had many built-in effects used both live and in studio.

Sadly Curtis, suffered from epilepsy and depression, and his tragic suicide resulted in the band’s dissolution and the subsequent formation of New Order by Stephen Morris, Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner who inherited Curtis’s guitar and used it in several early New Order songs, such as “Everything’s Gone Green”. Curtis also played keyboard on some live versions of “She’s Lost Control”. He also played the melodica on “Decades” and “In a Lonely Place”; the latter was written and rehearsed for the cancelled American tour and later salvaged as a New Order B-side. Curtis’ last live performance was on 2 May 1980, at High Hall of Birmingham University, a show that included Joy Division’s first and only performance of “Ceremony”, later recorded by New Order and released as their first single. The last song Curtis performed on stage was “Digital”. The recording of this performance is on the Still album. Curtis was cremated at Macclesfield Crematorium and his ashes were buried. His memorial stone, inscribed with “Ian Curtis 18 – 5 – 80″ and “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, was stolen in July 2008 from the grounds of Macclesfield Cemetery. The missing memorial stone was later replaced by a new stone.

Posted in Events, Health

World AIDS vaccine day

World AIDS Vaccine Day, also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, is observed annually on May 18. HIV vaccine advocates mark the day by promoting the continued urgent need for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS. They acknowledge and thank the thousands of volunteers, community members, health professionals, supporters and scientists who are working together to find a safe and effective AIDS vaccine and urge the international community to recognize the importance of investing in new technologies as a critical element of a comprehensive response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

AIDS/HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Following initial infection, a person may not notice any symptoms or may experience a brief period of influenza-like illness. Typically, this is followed by a prolonged period with no symptoms. As the infection progresses, it interferes more with the immune system, increasing the risk of common infections like tuberculosis, as well as other opportunistic infections, and tumors that rarely affect people who have working immune systems. These late symptoms of infection are referred to as AIDS. This stage is often also associated with weight loss.

HIV is spread primarily by unprotected sex (including anal and oral sex), contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. Some bodily fluids, such as saliva and tears, do not transmit HIV. Methods of prevention include safe sex, needle exchange programs, treating those who are infected, and male circumcision. Disease in a baby can often be prevented by giving both the mother and child antiretroviral medication. There is no cure or vaccine; however, antiretroviral treatment can slow the course of the disease and may lead to a near-normal life expectancy. Treatment is recommended as soon as the diagnosis is made. Without treatment, the average survival time after infection is 11 years.

In 2015 about 37.3 million people were living with HIV and it resulted in 1.2 million deaths. Most of those infected live in sub-Saharan Africa. Between its discovery and 2014 AIDS has caused an estimated 39 million deaths worldwide.HIV/AIDS is considered a pandemic—a disease outbreak which is present over a large area and is actively spreading. HIV is believed to have originated in west-central Africa during the late 19th or early 20th century. AIDS was first recognized by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1981 and its cause—HIV infection—was identified in the early part of the decade.

HIV/AIDS has had a great impact on society, both as an illness and as a source of discrimination. The disease also has large economic impacts. There are many misconceptions about HIV/AIDS such as the belief that it can be transmitted by casual non-sexual contact.The disease has become subject to many controversies involving religion including the Catholic Church’s decision not to support condom use as prevention. It has attracted international medical and political attention as well as large-scale funding since it was identified in the 1980s.

The concept of World AIDS Vaccine Day is rooted in a May 18, 1997 commencement speech at Morgan State University made by then-President Bill Clinton. Clinton challenged the world to set new goals in the emerging age of science and technology and develop an AIDS vaccine within the next decade stating, “Only a truly effective, preventive HIV vaccine can limit and eventually eliminate the threat of AIDS.” The first World AIDS Vaccine Day was observed on May 18, 1998 to commemorate the anniversary of Clinton’s speech, and the tradition continues today. Each year communities around the globe hold a variety of activities on World AIDS Vaccine Day to raise awareness for AIDS vaccines, educate communities about HIV prevention and research for an AIDS vaccine and bring attention to the ways in which ordinary people can be a part of the international effort to stem the pandemic.

Posted in Art, Events

International Museum Day

International Museum Day takes place annually around May 18. The purpose of International Museum Day is to raise public awareness on the important role museums play in the development of society at an international level. Museums are non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society which are open to the public, and acquire, conserve, research, communicate and exhibit the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.

International Museum Day is coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), a non-governmental organisation which was Created in 1946, to maintain formal relations with UNESCO and consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. ICOM also partners with entities such as the World Intellectual Property Organizatio INTERPOL, and the World Customs Organization in order to carry out its international public service missions, which include fighting illicit traffic in cultural goods and promoting risk management and emergency preparedness to protect world cultural heritage in the event of natural or man-made disasters. Members of the ICOM get the ICOM membership card, which provides free entry, or entry at a reduced rate, to many museums all over the world

International Museum Day also provides the opportunity for museum professionals to meet the public and alert them as to the challenges that museums face. The ICOM, (The International Council of Museum) are the main organisation of museums and museum professionals and have a global scope, and are committed to the promotion and protection of natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible.

Each year, International Museum Day highlights a different theme which is considered important to the international museum community. Museums around the world are invited to participate in International Museum Day to promote the role of museums, and to create, enjoyable and free activities around a different theme each year to advertise their work using a theme chosen by the ICOM.

Since it was created in 1977, International Museum Day has gained increasing attention. In 2009, International Museum Day attracted the participation of 20,000 museums hosting events in more than 90 countries. In 2010, 98 countries participated in the celebration, with 100 in 2011, and 30,000 museums in 129 countries in 2012. In 2011, the official IMD poster was translated into 37 languages. In 2012, this number Increased to 38. ICOM’s commitment to culture and knowledge promotion is reinforced by its 31 International Committees dedicated to a wide range of museum specialities, who conduct advanced research in their respective fields for the benefit of the museum community. The organisation is also involved in fighting illicit trafficking, assisting museums in emergency situations, and more. ICOM created International Museum Day in 1977.

More National and International holidays and events happenning on 18 May 

  • I Love Reese’s Day
  • Accounting Day
  • Emergency Medical Services for Children Day
  • Mother Whistler Day
  • National Cheese Soufflé Day
  • National Employee Health and Fitness Day
  • National No Dirty Dishes Day
  • National Visit Your Relatives Day
  • Turn Beauty Inside Out Day