Posted in Art

Albrecht Dürer

German painter, engraver, printmaker, mathematician, and theorist Albrecht Dürer was born 21 May 1472. His high-quality wood cuts established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he is regarded as one of the greatest artist of theNorthern Renaissance. His vast body of work includes altarpieces and religious works, numerous portraits and self-portraits, and copper engravings. The woodcuts, such as the Apocalypse series (1498), retain a more Gothic flavour than the rest of his work. His well-known prints include the Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513), Saint Jerome in his Study (1514) and Melencolia I(1514). Hiswatercolours also mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, and his ambitious woodcuts were revolutionary. Dürer’s introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatises, which involve principles of mathematics, perspective and ideal proportions.

In 1472 his godfather Anton Koberger, left goldsmithing to become a printer and publisher and quickly became the most successful publisher in Germany, eventually owning twenty-four printing-presses and having many offices in Germany and abroad. Koberger’s most famous publication was the Nuremberg Chronicles, published in 1493 which contained 1,809 woodcut illustrations and this is where Dürer worked as an of apprentice until 1490, and in early 1492 Dürer travelled to Basel to stay with another brother of Martin Schongauer, the goldsmith Georg. Very soon after his return to Nuremberg, on 7 July 1494, Dürer married Agnes Frey and opened his own workshop. Over the next five years his style increasingly integrated Italian influences into underlying Northern forms. Dürer’s father died in 1502, and his mother died in 1513. His best works in the first years of the workshop were his religious woodcut prints, and scenes such as The Men’s Bath House (ca. 1496). These were larger and more finely-cut than the great majority of German woodcuts and far more complex and balanced in composition. During an outbreak of plague in Nurenburg Dürer left for Italy and painted watercolour sketches as he traveled over the Alps.

He also travelled to Venice to study its more advanced artistic world and learned how to make prints in drypoint and design woodcuts in the German style, based on the works of Martin Schongauer and the Housebook Master. He was also influenced by Giovanni Bellini. In 1496 he produced his famous series of sixteen great designs for the Apocalypse, the engraving of St. Michael Fighting the Dragon and the first seven scenes of the Great Passion. A little later, he also produced a series of eleven on the Holy Family and saints. The Seven Sorrows Polyptych, commissioned by Frederick III of Saxony in 1496. Around 1503–1505 he produced the first seventeen of a set illustrating the Life of the Virgin, which he did not finish for some years. Dürer made large numbers of preparatory drawings, especially for his paintings and engravings, and many survive, most famously the Betende Hände, a study for an apostle in the Heller altarpiece. He also continued to produce watercolours, including a number of still lifes of meadow sections or animals, including his Young Hare (1502) and the Great Piece of Turf (1503,The Venetian artist Jacopo de’ Barbari, whom Dürer had met in Venice, visited Nuremberg in 1500, and Dürer said that he learned much about the new developments in perspective, anatomy, and proportion from him.

A series of extant drawings show Dürer’s experiments in human proportion, leading to the famous engraving of Adam and Eve (1504), which shows his subtlety while using the burin in the texturing of flesh surfaces.Despite the regard in which he was held by the Venetians, Dürer returned to Nuremberg by mid-1507, remaining in Germany until 1520. His reputation had spread throughout Europe and he was on friendly terms and in communication with most of the major artistsIn Italy, he returned to painting, at first producing a series of works executed in tempera on linen. These include portraits and altarpieces, notably, the Paumgartner altarpiece and the Adoration of the Magi. In early 1506, he returned to Venice and stayed there until the spring of 1507. By this time Dürer’s engravings had attained great popularity and were being copied. In Venice he was given a valuable commission from the emigrant German community for the church of San Bartolomeo. This was the altar-piece known as the Adoration of the Virgin or the Feast of Rose Garlands. It includes portraits of members of Venice’s German community, but shows a strong Italian influence. It was subsequently acquired by the Emperor Rudolf II and take to Prague. Other paintings Dürer produced in Venice include The Virgin and Child with the Goldfinch, Christ Disputing with the Doctors. From 1512, Maximilian I became Dürer’s major patron. His commissions included The Triumphal Arch

Dürer produced some of his most celebrated paintings: Adam and Eve(1507), The Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand (1508, for Frederick of Saxony), Virgin with the Iris(1508), the altarpiece Assumption of the Virgin (1509, for Jacob Heller of Frankfurt), andAdoration of the Trinity (1511, for Matthaeus Landauer). During this period he also completed two woodcut series, the Great Passion and the Life of the Virgin, both published in 1511 together with a second edition of the Apocalypse series. The post-Venetian woodcuts show Dürer’s development of chiaroscuro modelling effects,[9] creating a mid-tone throughout the print to which the highlights and shadows can be contrasted.Self-portrait, 1508Other works from this period include the thirty-seven woodcut subjects of the Little Passion, published first in 1511, and a set of fifteen small engravings on the same theme in 1512. Indeed, complaining that painting did not make enough money to justify the time spent when compared to his prints, he produced no paintings from 1513 to 1516. However, in 1513 and 1514 Dürer created his three most famous engravings: Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513, probably based on Erasmus’s treatise Enchiridion militis Christiani), St. Jerome in his Study, and the much-debated Melencolia I (both 1514). In 1515, he created his woodcut of a Rhinoceros which had arrived in Lisbon from a written description and sketch by another artist, without ever seeing the animal himself. An image of the Indian rhinoceros, the image has such force that it remains one of his best-known and was still used in some German school science text-books as late as last century.

In 1515 he produced woodblocks for the first western printed star charts and portraits in tempera on linen in 1516.On his return to Nuremberg, Dürer worked on a number of grand projects with religious themes, including a crucifixion scene and aSacra Conversazione, though neither was completed. This may have been due in part to his declining health, but perhaps also because of the time he gave to the preparation of his theoretical works on geometry and perspective, the proportions of men and horses, and fortification.Having secured his pension, Dürer finally returned home in July 1521, having caught an undetermined illness—perhaps malaria. As for engravings, Dürer’s work was restricted to portraits and illustrations for his treatise. However, one consequence of this shift in emphasis was that during the last years of his life, Dürer produced comparatively little as an artist. In painting, there was only a portrait of Hieronymus Holtzschuher, a Madonna and Child (1526), Salvator Mundi (1526), and two panels showing St. John with St. Peter in background and St. Paul with St. Mark in thebackground. Dürer also painted, the Four Apostles

Dürer died in Nuremberg at the age of 56, leaving an estate and workshop where his widow lived until her death in 1539 this is a prominent Nuremberg landmark and is now a museum. He is buried in the Johannisfriedhof cemetery. Dürer’s final major work, a drawn portrait of the Nuremberg patrician Ulrich Starck. Dürer’s intense and self-dramatizing self-portraits have continued to have a strong influence up to the present, especially on painters in the 19th and 20th century who desired a more dramatic portrait style andhas never fallen from critical favour, and has exerted a huge influence on the artists of succeeding generations, especially in printmaking, His success in spreading his reputation across Europe through prints were undoubtedly an inspiration for major artists such as Raphael, Titian, and Parmigianino, all of whom collaborated with printmakers in order to promote and distribute their work.

Posted in Fantasy, films & DVD, Science fiction, Television

Jon Pertwee

Best known for portraying the Third Doctor in the science-fiction series Doctor Who between 1970 and 1974, and starring as Worzel Gummidge, the English actor, entertainer and cabaret performer John Pertwee sadly died in his sleep from a heart attack in Connecticut on 20 May 1996, at the age of 76. He was born 7 July 1919. Pertwee was educated at Frensham Heights School, an independent school in Rowledge, near Farnham in Surrey, at Sherborne School in Sherborne in Dorset, and at some other schools from which he was expelled. After school, he went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), from which he was also expelled after he refused to play a Greek “wind” during one of the lessons, feeling it was a waste of both his time and his father’s money. He was also accused of writing graffiti about the tutors on the lavatory walls.

During the Second World War, Pertwee spent six years in the Royal Navy. He was a crew member of HMS Hood and was transferred off the ship for officer training shortly before she was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck, losing all but three men in May 1941. Later, he was attached to the highly-secretive Naval Intelligence Division, working alongside future James Bond author Ian Fleming, and reporting directly to Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and Deputy Prime Minister, Clement Attlee. Teaching commandos how to use escapology equipment, compasses in brass buttons, secret maps in white cotton handkerchiefs, pipes you could smoke that also fired a .22 bullet.

After the war, he made a name for himself as a comedy actor on radio in Waterlogged Spa, alongside Eric Barker, and Puffney Post Office in which he played a hapless old postman with the catch-phrase “It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you tears them up.” On 15 November 1948, at the Wood Green Empire, he was billed as ‘The Most Versatile Voice in Radio. He also appeared in the Radio Shows “Merry-go-Round” and “Up the Pole”‘. From 1959 to 1977, he had a long-running role as the conniving Chief Petty Officer Pertwee in The Navy Lark on BBC Radio. He was known as a Danny Kaye look-alike, Whom he impersonated in the film Murder at the Windmill (1949).In 1953, he played Charlie Sterling in Will Any Gentleman…?. Alongside Future Doctor Who actor William Hartnell as Inspector Martin.

On stage, he played the part of Lycus in the 1963 London production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Frankie Howerd and appeared in the smaller role of Crassus in the 1966 film version. He appeared as Sidney Tait in the comedy film Ladies Who Do (1963). In 1966, Pertwee starred alongside Donald Sinden in the West End production of There’s a Girl in My Soup and also appeared in four Carry On films: Carry On Cleo (1964, as the soothsayer), Carry On Cowboy (1965, as Sheriff Earp), Carry On Screaming! (1966, as Dr. Fettle), and Carry On Columbus (1992, as the Duke of Costa Brava). In 1967 Pertwee had been producer David Croft’s choice for the role of Captain George Mainwaring in Dad’s Army.

His television career had started off with small parts in children’s shows featuring Richard Hearne’s Mr Pastry character. Later he made an appearance in The Avengers episode ‘From Venus With Love’ (1967) as Brigadier Whitehead, and in the 1970s, he guest-starred as a vicar in The Goodies’ episode “Wacky Wales”. In 1969, Pertwee was selected by outgoing producer Peter Bryant and the series’ next producer Derrick Sherwin to take over as the Doctor from Patrick Troughton in the television series Doctor Who. Pertwee had asked his agent to apply for the role for him and was surprised to find he was already on the shortlist. In a departure from the Doctor’s first two incarnations, Pertwee played the character as an active crusader with a penchant for action and fancy clothes, even while the character was exiled on Earth and serving with UNIT. He played the Doctor for five seasons from early 1970 to mid-1974, a longer stint than either of his predecessors in the role, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, although the Pertwee era of Doctor Who ‘only’ had 128 episodes compared to the Hartnell era having had 134 episodes, as the BBC relaxed its shooting schedule from 39–45 episodes per season to 25–26 episodes per season at the start of Pertwee’s tenure as Doctor Who. He stayed until 1974, When he retired as the Doctor to resume his stage career in The Bedwinner.

The main reason for his departure was the death of his good friend and co-star Roger Delgado (The Master) and the departures of co-star Katy Manning and producer Barry Letts. His last full-time appearance in the series was in the story Planet of the Spiders in June 1974, which finished with Tom Baker replacing him in the role. He also starred in The House That Dripped Blood (1971) as an arrogant horror film star named Paul Henderson, who meets his doom thanks to a genuine vampire cloak. In 1973, Pertwee endorsed the Co-op’s Baking Your Cake and Eating it, a recipe book written by Sarah Charles. Pertwee later reprised his role as The Doctor in the 20th anniversary story The Five Doctors and the Children in Need story Dimensions in Time, in two radio adventures and on stage in Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure. On 14 April 1971, Pertwee was the subject of Thames Television’s This Is Your Life.between 1974 and 1978 Pertwee was the host of the murder-mystery game show Whodunnit?,

Pertwee then took the starring role in Worzel Gummidge, based on the books written by Barbara Euphan Todd. First aired in 1979 on ITV, the series saw Pertwee as a scarecrow, and continued until 1981. In 1987 Worzel Gummidge Down Under aired until 1989 and was screened in the UK on Channel 4. In 1995, Pertwee played the role one last time in a one-off special for ITV, which celebrated 40 years of the channel. Pertwee played the title character in Worzel Gummidge, the musical, book and lyrics by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, music by Denis King, which opened at London’s Cambridge Theatre in December 1981, co-starring Una Stubbs and Geoffrey Bayldon. Pertwee also recorded an album, Worzel Gummidge Sings, as well as a Christmas single. In 1976, Pertwee voiced and appeared in the television advertisement which promoted the Green Cross Code and also starred with Australian actress Julie Anthony in a West End production of the musical IRENE playing the camp fashion-designer “Madame Lucy”. Pertwee also features on the cast recording album. He also voiced the character of “Spotty” in the 1980s cartoon series SuperTed and in 1985 he starred in Do You Know The Milkyway? Portraying Dr. Neuross and another nine characters. In 1995 Pertwee also had the key voice of Death and other voice characterisations in the PC and PlayStation renditions of “Discworld”. And also played General Von Kramer in the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode “Attack of the Hawkmen”. In 1975 he portrayed The Colonel’ in “One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing .

He returned to the role of the Doctor in the 1983 20th anniversary television special The Five Doctors and in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time for Children in Need. He also portrayed the Doctor in the stage play Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure. He made a guest appearance in the “Lords and Ladies” episode of the BBC Radio 4 comedy series Harry Hill’s Fruit Corner, playing a Time Lord and also spoofed the role in the Radio 4 comedy The Skivers. He also presented the Doctor Who video releases The Troughton Years. In 1993, Pertwee was featured in the unofficial 30th anniversary release of Doctor Who entitled 30 Years of Time Travel and Beyond. Pertwee portrayed the Third Doctor in two further audio productions for BBC Radio, The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N-Space. In April 1995, he appeared in Devious, an amateur video drama set between the second Doctor’s trial at the end of The War Games and before the start of Spearhead From Space. Pertwee’s final film role was in a short film entitled Cloud Cuckoo and also appeared on Cilla’s Surprise, Surprise, in 1996..

He was survived by his wife Ingeborg Rhoesa, and two children who had followed him into the acting profession, Sean Pertwee and Dariel Pertwee. Many Doctor Who actors payed tribute including Tom Baker and Colin Baker His body was cremated at Putney Vale Crematorium with a toy Worzel Gummidge affixed to the coffin, following the instructions in his will. His death came six days after the American broadcast of the Doctor Who television film, which used a logo based on the one from his era of the television series and featured a dedication to Pertwee at its end. Pertwee’s voice was used in the 40th Anniversary Doctor Who audio drama, Zagreus, as the TARDIS helps a corrupted Eighth Doctor (voiced by Paul McGann). Pertwee also wrote two autobiographies: Moon Boots and Dinner Suits and the posthumously published Doctor Who: I Am the Doctor – Jon Pertwee’s Final Memoir. In 2000, Jon Pertwee: The Biography by Bernard Bale (was published by André Deutsch, and included a few chapters by Pertwee’s widow Ingeborg.

Archival footage of Pertwee has been used several times in the revived Doctor Who. Including “The Next Doctor” when the Tenth Doctor shows Jackson Lake an infostamp about himself, “The Eleventh Hour” when the Eleventh Doctor rhetorically asks the Atraxi how previous alien invasion attempts were stopped, “The Name of the Doctor” and “The Day of the Doctor” which shows the Third Doctor assisting his other incarnations in sending Gallifrey to an alternate universe to protect it from the Daleks.

Posted in Events, nature

World Bee Day

World Bee Day is celebrated annually on May 20. The purpose of the international day is to acknowledge the crucial role of bees and other pollinators for our ecosytem. Bees are closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and, in the case of the best-known bee species, the western honey bee, for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea and are presently considered a clade, called Anthophila. There are over 16,000 known species of bees in seven recognized biological families. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants.

Some species including honey bees, bumblebees, and stingless bees live socially in colonies. Bees are adapted for feeding on nectar and pollen, the former primarily as an energy source and the latter primarily for protein and other nutrients. Most pollen is used as food for larvae. Bee pollination is important both ecologically and commercially. The decline in wild bees has increased the value of pollination by commercially managed hives of honey bees.Bees range in size from tiny stingless bee species whose workers are less than 2 millimetres (0.08 in) long, to Megachile pluto, the largest species of leafcutter bee, whose females can attain a length of 39 millimetres (1.54 in). The most common bees in the Northern Hemisphere are the Halictidae, or sweat bees, but they are small and often mistaken for wasps or flies. Vertebrate predators of bees include birds such as bee-eaters; insect predators include beewolves and dragonflies.

Human beekeeping or apiculture has been practised for millennia, since at least the times of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece. Apart from honey and pollination, honey bees produce beeswax, royal jelly and propolis. Bees have appeared in mythology and folklore, through all phases of art and literature, from ancient times to the present day, though primarily focused in the Northern Hemisphere, where beekeeping is far more common. Sadly an analysis of 353 wild bee and hoverfly species across Britain from 1980 to 2013 found the insects have been lost from a quarter of the places they were found in 1980.

World Bee Day takes place on the anniversary of the birth of Carniolan apiarist and painter Anton Janša, the pioneer of beekeeping, who was baptized 20 May 1734 in Breznica, Carniola (now in Slovenia) Although His exact birth date is not known. From a young age Janša, together with his two brothers, showed a great interest in painting (they had a studio in their barn) and all three brothers, despite being illiterate, went to Vienna and entered the painters’ academy there. His brother Lovro actually finished his studies at the academy and became a professor there, but Anton, despite a talent for painting, soon discovered that his true interests were in bee-keeping.

His interest in bee keeping came from his father who had over one hundred hives at home and neighbouring farmers would gather at the village and discuss farming and bee-keeping. In 1769 he began to work full-time as a bee-keeper and a year later became the first royally appointed teacher of apiculture for all Austrian lands and was employed as a teacher of apiculture at the Habsburg court in Vienna WhereHe kept bees in the imperial gardens (Augarten) and travelled around Austria presenting his observations in regard to moving hives to various pastures.

He became famous for his lectures in which he demonstrated his knowledge of bees. He also wrote two books in German: Discussion on Bee-keeping (1771) after his death. In his Full guide he noted: Bees are a type of fly, hardworking, created by God to provide man with all needed honey and wax. Amongst all God’s beings there are none so hard working and useful to man with so little attention needed for its keep as the bee. He is also noted for changing the size and shape of hives to a form where they can be stacked together like blocks. As a painter he also decorated the fronts of hives with paintings. Janša rejected the belief that the male bees are water carriers and assumed that the queen-bee is fertilized mid-air. He advocated moving hives to pastures. He sadly died in Vienna 13 September 1773 and following his death The Empress Maria Theresa issued a decree obliging all teachers of apiculture to use his books. His second book A Full guide to Bee-keeping was published posthumously in 1775. The UN Member States approved Slovenia’s proposal to proclaim 20 May as World Bee Day in December 2017.

Posted in Events

World Metrology Day

World Metrology Day takes place annually on the 20th of May. The date commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875 which standardised the International System of Units. Metrology is the science of measurement. It establishes a common understanding of units, crucial in linking human activities. Modern metrology has its roots in the French Revolution’s political motivation to standardise units in France, when a length standard taken from a natural source was proposed. This led to the creation of the decimal-based metric system in 1795, establishing a set of standards for other types of measurements. Several other countries adopted the metric system between 1795 and 1875; to ensure conformity between the countries, the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM) was established by the Metre Convention. This has evolved into the International System of Units (SI) as a result of a resolution at the 11th Conference Generale des Poids et Mesures (CGPM) in 1960.

Metrology is divided into three basic kinds: the definition of units of measurement, the realisation of these units of measurement , and traceability, which is linking measurements made in practice to the reference standards. These overlapping activities are used in varying degrees by the three basic sub-fields of Metrology. The sub-fields are scientific or fundamental metrology, which is concerned with the establishment of units of measurement, Applied, technical or industrial metrology, the application of measurement to manufacturing and other processes in society, and Legal metrology, which covers the regulation and statutory requirements for measuring instruments and the methods of measurement.

In each country, a national measurement system (NMS) exists as a network of laboratories, calibration facilities and accreditation bodies which implement and maintain its metrology infrastructure. The NMS affects how measurements are made in a country and their recognition by the international community, which has a wide-ranging impact in its society (including economics, energy, environment, health, manufacturing, industry and consumer confidence. The effects of metrology on trade and economy are some of the easiest-observed societal impacts. To facilitate fair trade, there must be an agreed-upon system of measurement.

The history of measurement dates back to at least 2900 BC when The first record of a permanent standard, The royal Egyptian cubit was used. The cubit was decreed to be the length of the Pharaoh’s forearm plus the width of his hand, and replica standards were given to builders. The success of a standardised length for the building of the pyramids is indicated by the lengths of their bases differing by no more than 0.05 percent.

Other civilizations produced generally accepted measurement standards, with Roman and Greek architecture based on distinct systems of measurement. The collapse of the empires and the Dark Ages which followed them lost much measurement knowledge and standardisation. Although local systems of measurement were common, comparability was difficult since many local systems were incompatible. England established the Assize of Measures to create standards for length measurements in 1196, and the 1215 Magna Carta included a section for the measurement of wine and beer.

Modern metrology has its roots in the French Revolution. With a political motivation to harmonise units throughout France, a length standard based on a natural source was proposed. In March 1791, the metre was defined. This led to the creation of the decimal-based metric system in 1795, establishing standards for other types of measurements. Several other countries adopted the metric system between 1795 and 1875; to ensure international conformity, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (French: Bureau International des Poids et Mesures, or BIPM) was established by the Metre Convention. Although the BIPM’s original mission was to create international standards for units of measurement and relate them to national standards to ensure conformity, its scope has broadened to include electrical and photometric units and ionizing radiation measurement standards. The metric system was modernised in 1960 with the creation of the International System of Units (SI) as a result of a resolution at the 11th General Conference on Weights and Measures (French: Conference Generale des Poids et Mesures, or CGP)

Metrology has wide-ranging impacts on a number of sectors, including economics, energy, the environment, health, manufacturing, industry, and consumer confidence. The effects of metrology on trade and the economy are two of its most-apparent societal impacts. To facilitate fair and accurate trade between countries, there must be an agreed-upon system of measurement. Accurate measurement and regulation of water, fuel, food, and electricity are critical for consumer protection and promote the flow of goods and services between trading partners. A common measurement system and quality standards benefit consumer and producer; production at a common standard reduces cost and consumer risk, ensuring that the product meets consumer needs. Transaction costs are reduced through an increased economy of scale. Several studies have indicated that increased standardisation in measurement has a positive impact on GDP. In the United Kingdom, an estimated 28.4 percent of GDP growth from 1921 to 2013 was the result of standardisation; in Canada between 1981 and 2004 an estimated nine percent of GDP growth was standardisation-related, and in Germany the annual economic benefit of standardisation is an estimated 0.72% of GDP.

Legal metrology has reduced accidental deaths and injuries with measuring devices, such as radar guns and breathalyzers, by improving their efficiency and reliability. Measuring the human body is challenging, with poor repeatability and reproducibility, and advances in metrology help develop new techniques to improve health care and reduce costs. Environmental policy is based on research data, and accurate measurements are important for assessing climate change and environmental regulation. Aside from regulation, metrology is essential in supporting innovation, the ability to measure provides a technical infrastructure and tools that can then be used to pursue further innovation. By providing a technical platform which new ideas can be built upon, easily demonstrated, and shared, measurement standards allow new ideas to be explored and expanded upon.

Posted in music

Joe Cocker

English Rock and Blues singer John Robert “Joe” Cocker, OBE was Born 20 May 1944 In, Crookes, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, Cocker received his nickname of Joe either from playing a childhood game called “Cowboy Joe”, or from a local window cleaner named Joe. Cocker’s main musical influences growing up were Ray Charles and Lonnie Donegan. Cocker’s first experience singing in public was at age 12 in his brother Victor’s skiffle group. In 1960, along with three friends, Cocker formed his first group, the Cavaliers and Cocker left school to become an apprentice gasfitter while simultaneously pursuing a career in music

He was known for his gritty voice, spasmodic body movement in performance, and cover versions of popular songs, particularly those of the Beatles.In 1961, under the stage name Vance Arnold, Cocker continued his career with a new group, Vance Arnold and the Avengers. Who mostly played in the pubs of Sheffield, performing covers of Chuck Berry and Ray Charles songs. Cocker developed an interest in blues music particularly John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Howlin’ Wolf.In 1963, they supported the Rolling Stones at Sheffield City Hall. In 1964, Cocker released his first single, a cover of the Beatles’ “I’ll Cry Instead” (with Big Jim Sullivan and Jimmy Page playing guitars)

In 1966, Cocker teamed up with Chris Stainton, to form the Grease Band.” Like the Avengers, Cocker’s group mostly played in pubs in and around Sheffield. The Grease Band came to the attention of Denny Cordell, the producer of Procol Harum, the Moody Blues and Georgie Fame. Cocker recorded the single “Marjorine” without the Grease Band and Cordell set Cocker up with a residency at the Marquee Club in London, and a “new” Grease Band was formed with Stainton and keyboardist Tommy Eyre. After minor success in the United States with the single “Marjorine”, Cocker released “With a Little Help from My Friends”, another Beatles cover, which, many years later, was used as the opening theme for The Wonder Years, which features lead guitar from Jimmy Page,

During his United States tour, Cocker played at several large festivals, including the Newport Rock Festival and the Denver Pop Festival And the Woodstock festival, performing several songs, including “Delta Lady”, “Something’s Comin’ On”, “Let’s Go Get Stoned”, “I Shall Be Released”, and “With a Little Help from My Friends. Directly after Woodstock, Cocker released his second album, Joe Cocker! For which Cocker also covered the Beatles “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” and “Something” and the Leon Russell song, “Delta Lady”. In August 1969, Cocker performed at the Isle of Wight Festival at Wootton Bridge, Isle of Wight, England.

in 1970 Joe Cocker toured America With a group of more than 30 musicians, including pianist and bandleader Leon Russell, three drummers, and backing vocalists Rita Coolidge and Claudia Lennear. the new band was christened “Mad Dogs & Englishmen”, after the Noël Coward song of the same name. Cocker’s music evolved into a more bluesy type of rock, compared to that of the Rolling Stones. Despite having several hits including “Cry Me a River”, “Feelin’ Alright” and “The Letter”, the pace of the tour was exhausting and his family became increasingly concerned with his deteriorating physical and mental health. Russell and Cocker both had personal problems; Cocker became depressed and began drinking excessively. Cocker also wrote the overture played by the UK Prime Minister Edward Heath on the occasion the Prime Minister famously conducted a live orchestra while in office. In 1971, Cocker released “High Time We Went”.

After touring the United States, he Toured Europe, playing Italy and Germany before returning to the United States and Australia in 1972 where he and six members of his entourage were arrested in Adelaide for possession of marijuana and he was Charged with Assault the next day, in Melbourne, after a brawl at the Commodore Chateau Hotel, and the Australian Federal Police gave Cocker 48 hours to leave the country. This sparked a debate about the use and legalisation of marijuana in Australia, and gained Cocker the nickname “the Mad Dog”. In 1974, Cocker released the album “I can Stand A Little Rain”which contained a cover of Dennis Wilson and Billy Preston’s “You Are So Beautiful” and in 1975 he released a second album , Jamaica Say You Will. In late 1975, he contributed vocals on a number of the tracks on Bo Diddley’s The 20th Anniversary of Rock ‘n’ Roll all-star album and also recorded the album “Stingray” in Kingston, Jamaica. In 1976, Cocker performed “Feelin’ Alright” on Saturday Night Live. For which John Belushi joined him onstage doing his famous impersonation of Cocker’s stage movements.

In 1977 Cocker embarked on a tour of New Zealand, Australia, and South America. He then recorded a new album Luxury you Can Afford before touring North America in 1978. In 1979, Cocker joined the “Woodstock in Europe” tour, which featured musicians like Arlo Guthrie and Richie Havens who had played at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. He also performed in New York’s Central Park and also toured Europe and appeared on the German television recording amphitheatre, Rockpalast, the first of many performances on the show. In 1982,

Cocker recorded two songs with the jazz group the Crusaders on their album Standing Tall. One song, and “I’m So Glad I’m Standing Here Today”, which was nominated for a Grammy Award. Cocker then released a new reggae-influenced album, Sheffield Steel, recorded with the Compass Point All Stars. Then In 1982, Cocker recorded the duet “Up Where We Belong” with Jennifer Warnes for the soundtrack of the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman. Which was an international hit, and won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo and an Academy Award for Best Original Song. He also performed “You Are So Beautiful” with Ray Charles in a television tribute to the musician and joined Ronnie Lane’s 1983 tour to raise money for the London-based organisation Action for Research into Multiple Sclerosis, with other Musicians such as Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Chris Stainton.

In 1983 Cocker was arrested by Austrian police Shortly after the incident, he released his ninth studio album, Civilized Man. His next album Cocker was dedicated to his mother, Madge, who had recently died which featured the song “You Can Leave Your Hat On” which was featured in the 1986 film 9½ Weeks. He also released the 1987 album Unchain My Heart. In 1988, he performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall and appeared on The Tonight Show. After Barclay James Harvest and Bob Dylan, Cocker was the first to give rock concerts in the German Democratic Republic, in East Berlin and Dresden. The venue, the Blüherwiese, next to the Rudolf–Harbig–Stadion, bears the vernacular name Cockerwiese (Cocker meadow) today. Healso performed for President George H. W. Bush at an inauguration concert in 1989. In 1992, he released a cover of Bryan Adams’ “Feels Like Forever”. In 1992, Joe Cocker teamed with Canadian rocker Sass Jordan to sing “Trust in Me”, which was featured on The Bodyguard soundtrack and was nominated for Best British Mail At the 1993 Brit Awards. Cocker also performed the opening set at Woodstock ’94 as one of the few alumni who played at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969. In 2002 Cocker performed “With A Little Help From My Friends” accompanied by Phil Collins on drums and Queen guitarist Brian May at the Party at the Palace concert in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

In 2007, Cocker appeared in the film Across the Universe, as the lead singer on another Beatles’ hit, “Come Together” and was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours list for services to music and was awarded a bronze Sheffield Legends plaque in his hometown. In 2009 Cocker toured North American and sang the vocals on “Little Wing” for the Carlos Santana album, Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time, and in 2010, Cocker toured Europe promoting his new album Hard Knocks. In 2011, Cocker took part in a benefit concert for Cornell Dupree at B.B. King’s Blues Club in New York. Dupree played on two Cocker albums: Stingray (1976) and Luxury You Can Afford (1978). Cocker was Also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shortly before he sadly died of lung cancer on 22 December 2014 in Crawford, Colorado. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, were among those who paid tribute to the singer, who was “without doubt the greatest rock/soul singer ever to come out of Britain.” And was ranked No. 97 on Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest singers list.

Posted in aviation, Uncategorized

R. J. Mitchell CBE FRAeS

British Aeronautical Engineer and designer of the Supermarine Spitfire Reginald Joseph Mitchell CBE, FRAeS was born 20 May 1895. In 1917 he joined the Supermarine Aviation Works at Southampton. Advancing quickly within the company, Mitchell was appointed Chief Designer in 1919. He was made Chief Engineer in 1920 and Technical Director in 1927. He was so highly regarded that, when Vickers took over Supermarine in 1928, one of the conditions was that Mitchell stay as a designer for the next five years. Between 1920 and 1936, Mitchell designed 24 aircraft including light aircraft, fighters and bombers. As Supermarine was primarily a seaplane manufacturer, this included a number of flying boats such as the Supermarine Sea Eagle, the Supermarine Sea King, the Supermarine Walrus and Supermarine Stranraer. However, he is best remembered for his work on a series of racing aircraft, which culminated in the Supermarine S.6B, and the famous Supermarine Spitfire short range Interceptor/fighter.

The S.6B was a British racing seaplane developed by Mitchell for the Supermarine company to take part in the Schneider Trophy competition of 1931. The S.6B marked the culmination of Mitchell’s quest to “perfect the design of the racing seaplane” and was the last in the line of racing seaplanes developed by Supermarine that followed the S.4, S.5 and the Supermarine S.6.The S.6B won the Trophy in 1931 and later broke the world air speed record. Mitchell was awarded the CBE in 1932 for his contribution to high-speed flight.

In 1931 the Air Ministry issued specification F7/30 for a fighter aircraft to replace the Gloster Gauntlet. Mitchell’s proposed design, the Type 224 was one of three designs for which the Air Ministry ordered prototypes. The Supermarine Spitfire prototype, K5054, first flew on 19 February 1934, but was eventually rejected by the RAF because of its unsatisfactory performance. While the 224 was being built, Mitchell was authorised by Supermarine in 1933 to proceed with a new design, the Type 300, an all-metal monoplane that would become the Supermarine Spitfire. This was originally a private venture by Supermarine, but the RAF quickly became interested and the Air Ministry financed a prototype. The first prototype Spitfire, serial K5054, flew for the first time on 5 March 1936 at Eastleigh, Hampshire. In later tests, it reached 349 mph, consequently, before the prototype had completed its official trials, the RAF ordered 310 production Spitfires.

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. 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.

After 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. Much loved by its pilots, the Spitfire served in several 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.

In August 1933, Mitchell underwent a colostomy to treat rectal cancer. Despite this, he continued to work, not only on the Spitfire, but also on a four-engined bomber, the Type 317. Unusually for an aircraft designer in those days, he took flying lessons and got his pilot’s licence in July 1934. In 1936 cancer was diagnosed again, and subsequently, in early 1937, Mitchell gave up work, although he was often seen watching the Spitfire being tested. Mitchell went to the American Foundation in Vienna for a month but sadly died 11 June 1937. His ashes were interred at South Stoneham Cemetery, Hampshire four days later. He was succeeded as Chief Designer at Supermarine by Joseph Smith, who took over as chief designer and was responsible for the further development of the Spitfire. Nevertheless, Mitchell’s design was so sound that the Spitfire was continually improved throughout the Second World War. Over 22,000 Spitfires and derivatives were built. Mitchell’s career was depicted in the film The First of the Few and The Spitfire continues to be popular with approximately 53 Spitfires being airworthy, while many more are static exhibits in aviation museums all over the world.

Supermarine Spitfire