VE (Victory in Europe) Day takes place anually on 8 May. It Commemorates the Anniversary of the formal unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany’s Armed Forces following the signing of the act of military surrender on 7 May in Reims, France and on 8 May in Berlin, Germany by Hitler’s successor, Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz of the Flensburg Government following the suicide of Nazi Leader Adolf Hitler on 30 April 1945 during the Battle of Berlin.
It marked the end of World War II in Europe and Upon the defeat of the Nazis, celebrations erupted throughout the world. From Moscow to Los Angeles, people celebrated. In the United Kingdom, more than one million people celebrated in the streets to mark the end of the European part of the war. In London, crowds massed in Trafalgar Square and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the palace before the cheering crowds. Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) and her sister Princess Margaret were allowed to wander incognito among the crowds and take part in the celebrations.
In the United States, the victory happened on President Harry Truman’s 61st birthday. He dedicated the victory to the memory of his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died of a cerebral hemorrhage less than a month earlier, on 12 April. Flags remained at half-mast for the remainder of the 30-day mourning period. Truman said of dedicating the victory to Roosevelt’s memory and keeping the flags at half-mast that his only wish was “that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day.”Massive celebrations also took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and especially in New York’s Times Square.
Meanwhile in Russia As the Soviet representative in Reims had no authority to sign the German instrument of surrender, the Soviet leadership proposed to consider Reims surrender as a “preliminary” act. The surrender ceremony was repeated in Berlin on 8 May, where the instrument of surrender was signed by supreme German military commander Wilhelm Keitel, by Georgy Zhukov and Allied representatives. Since the Soviet Union was to the east of Germany, it was 9 May Moscow time when the German military surrender became effective, which is why Russia and most of the former Soviet republics commemorate Victory Day on 9 May instead of 8 May 1945.
Commemorative public holidays are also held in many other countries including Italy on (25 April where it is known as “Festa della Liberazione” (Liberation Holiday). Denmark on 5 May known as “Befrielsen” (The Liberation) in the Netherlands on 5 May where it is known as “Bevrijdingsdag” (Liberation Day). In East Germany it was originally known as Tag der Befreiung (Day of Liberation), a public holiday from 1950 to 1966 and between 1975 and 1990, as Tag des Sieges (Victory Day which was celebrated on 9 May. In Slovakia it is known as Deň víťazstva nad fašizmom (Victory over Fascism Day) and in the Czech Republic it is known as Den vítězství (Day of Victory) or Den osvobození (Day of Liberation). In Poland it is known as “Dzień Zwycięstwa” (Day of Victory and Soviet occupation in Poland). In Norway it is known as “Frigjøringsdagen” (Liberation Day), in Ukraine it is known as “День пам’яті та примирення” (Memorial Day or День перемоги над нацизмом у Другій світовій війні” (Victory Day over Nazism in World War II. In Georgia 9 May is known as “ფაშიზმზე გამარჯვების დღე” (Victory over Fascism Day, While in Belarus 9 May is called) “Дзень Перамогі” (Victory Day) In Russia 9 May is celebrated as “День победы” (Victory Day and in Kazakhstan 9 May is celebrated as “Жеңіс күні” or “День победы” (Victory Day) while On the British Channel Islands Liberation Day takes place 9 May on Jersey and Guernsey and 10 May on Sark.
World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day takes place annually on 8 May to mark the anniversary of the birth of Henry Dunant, who was the founder of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize. The purpose of World Red cross and Red Crescent day is to educate people and celebrate theprinciples of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Henry Dunant was born 8 May 1828, in Geneva, Switzerland. His family was devoutly Calvinist and had significant influence in Geneva society. His parents stressed the value of social work, and his father was active helping orphans and parolees, while his mother worked with the sick and poor. His father worked in a prison and an orphanage. Dunant grew up during a period of religious awakening known as the Réveil, and at age 18 he joined the Geneva Society for Alms giving. In 1846 he founded the so-called “Thursday Association”, a loose band of young men that met to study the Bible and help the poor, and he spent much of his free time engaged in prison visits and social work. On 30 November 1852, he founded the Geneva chapter of the YMCA and three years later he took part in the Paris meeting devoted to the founding of its international organization. In 1849, at age 21, Dunant was forced to leave the Collège Calvin due to poor grades, and he began an apprenticeship with the money-changing firm Lullin et Sautter. After its successful conclusion, he remained as an employee of the bank.
In 1853, Dunant visited Algeria, Tunisia, and Sicily, on assignment with a company devoted to the “colonies of Setif” (Compagnie genevoise des Colonies de Sétif). Inspired by the trip, he wrote his first book with the title An Account of the Regency in Tunis (Notice sur la Régence de Tunis), published in 1858. In 1856, he created a business to operate in foreign colonies, and, after being granted a land concession by French-occupied Algeria, a corn-growing and trading company called the Financial and Industrial Company of Mons-Djémila Mills (Société financière et industrielle des Moulins des Mons-Djémila). However, the the colonial authorities were not especially cooperative. So, Dunant decided to appeal directly to French emperor Napoléon III, who was with his army in Lombardy at the time and also wrote a flattering book full of praise for Napoleon III with the intention to present it to the emperor, and then traveled to Solferino to meet with him personally.
Dunant arrived in Solferino in June 1859, on the same day a battle between the two sides had occurred nearby. Twenty-three thousand wounded, dying and dead remained on the battlefield, and there appeared to be little attempt to provide care. Shocked, Dunant himself took the initiative to organize the civilian population, especially the women and girls, to provide assistance to the injured and sick soldiers. They lacked sufficient materials and supplies, and Dunant himself organized the purchase of needed materials and helped erect makeshift hospitals. He convinced the population to service the wounded without regard to their side in the conflict as per the slogan “Tutti fratelli” (All are brothers) coined by the women of nearby city Castiglione delle Stiviere. He also gained the release of Austrian doctors captured by the French.
After returning to Geneva Dunant decided to write a book describing his experiences in Solferino . Entitled Un Souvenir de Solferino (A Memory of Solferino) Describing the battle, its costs, the horrifc conditions and the chaotic circumstances afterwards. He also developed the idea that in the future a neutral organization should exist to provide care to wounded soldiers. He distributed the book to many leading political and military figures in Europe. Dunant also travelled through Europe to promote his ideas, and the President of the Geneva Society for Public Welfare, jurist Gustave Moynier,arranged a meeting of the organization during whichDunant’s recommendations were examined and assessed by the members to see how they could be implemented
They created a five-person Committee which included Dunant, Gustave Moynier, the Swiss army general Henri Dufour, and doctors Louis Appia and Théodore Maunoir. The first meeting on 17 February 1863 is now considered the founding date of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Dunant was an idealist which led to conflict with Moynier Who considered Dunant’s idea to establish neutrality protections for care providers unfeasible. In 1863, 14 states took part in a meeting in Geneva organized by the committee to discuss the improvement of care for wounded soldiers. In 1864, a diplomatic conference organized by the Swiss Parliament led to the signing of the First Geneva Convention by 12 states. In April 1867, the bankruptcy of the financial firm Crédit Genevois led to a scandal involving Dunant. He was forced to declare bankruptcy and was condemned by the Geneva Trade Court In 1868 for deceptive practices. The social outcry in Geneva, a city deeply rooted in Calvinist traditions, also led to calls for him to separate himself from the International Committee. On 25 August 1868, he resigned as Secretary and, on 8 September he left.
In February 1868, Dunant’s mother died. Later that year he was also expelled from the YMCA and In March 1867, he left his home city Geneva. Napoléon III’s offer to take over half of Dunant’s debts was also thwarted by Moynier’s efforts. So Dunant moved to Paris, where he continued to pursue his humanitarian ideas and plans. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), he founded the Common Relief Society (Allgemeine Fürsorgegesellschaft) and soon after the Common Alliance for Order and Civilization (Allgemeine Allianz für Ordnung und Zivilisation). He argued for disarmament negotiations and for the erection of an international court to mediate international conflicts. Later he worked for the creation of a world library, an idea which had echoes in future projects such as UNESCO. Despite being appointed an honorary member of the national Red Cross societies of Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Prussia and Spain, he was nearly forgotten By the Red Cross Movement. Between 1874 and 1886, he moved between Stuttgart, Rome, Corfu, Basel, and Karlsruhe. In Stuttgart he met the Tübingen University student Rudolf Müller And while living in London, his finacial situation improved and he moved to Heiden where he met the young teacher Wilhelm Sonderegger and his wife Susanna who encouraged him to record his life experiences. Sonderegger’s wife founded a branch of the Red Cross in Heiden and in 1890 Dunant became its honorary president.
With Sonderegger, Dunant promoted his ideas further and published a new edition of his book. Sonderegger died in 1904 at the age of only forty-two. Despite their strained relationship, Dunant was destraught. Wilhelm and Susanna Sonderegger’s admiration for Dunant inspired their son René to publish a compilation of letters from Dunant to his father. In September 1895, Georg Baumberger, the chief editor of the St. Gall newspaper Die Ostschweiz, wrote an article about the Red Cross founder, whom he had met in Heiden. The article entitled “Henri Dunant, the founder of the Red Cross”, appeared in the German Illustrated Magazine Über Land und Meer, and was soon reprinted in many other publications. Following this He received the Swiss Binet-Fendt Prize and a note from Pope Leo XIII. In 1897, Rudolf Müller, who was now working as a teacher in Stuttgart, also wrote a book about the origins of the Red Cross, altering the official history to stress Dunant’s role and also included the text of A Memory of Solferino. Dunant began writing to Bertha von Suttner and was especially active in writing about women’s rights, and in 1897 facilitated the founding of a “Green Cross” women’s organization. In 1901, Dunant was awarded the first-ever Nobel Peace Prize for his role in founding the International Red Cross Movement and initiating the Geneva Convention. Norwegian military physician Hans Daae, who had received a copy of Müller’s book, advocated Dunant’s case on the Nobel committee. The award was jointly given to French pacifist Frédéric Passy, founder of the Peace League and active with Dunant in the Alliance for Order and Civilization. In 1903 Dunant was given an honorary doctorate by the medical faculty of the University of Heidelberg.
Dunant lived in the nursing home in Heiden until his death. In the final years of his life, he suffered from depression and paranoia about pursuit by his creditors and Moynier. There were even days when Dunant insisted that the cook of the nursing home first taste his food before his eyes to protect him against possible poisoning. In his final years, he spurned and attacked Calvinism and organized religion generally. He was said to be agnostic.
The idea for an “annual action which would contribute to peace” was introduced just after World War I and evolved out of the “Red Cross Truce, an initiative that was studied by an international commission established at the 14th International Conference of the Red Cross. Its results, presented to the 15th International Conference in Tokyo in 1934, was approved and having considered the principles of the truce, and its applicability across different regions of the world, the General Assembly of the International Federation of the Red Cross Societies (IFRC) asked the League of the Red Cross Societies (LORCS) to study the feasibility of adopting an annual International Red Cross Day. Two years later, the proposal was adopted and the first Red Cross Day was celebrated on 8 May 1948. The official title of the day has changed over time, and it became “World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day” in 1984.
Leading French Post-Impressionist artist Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin Sadly died 8 May 1903. He was born 7 June 1848. As a child he lived for four years in Lima with Paul’s uncle and his family. The imagery of Peru would later influence Gauguin in his art. It was in Lima that Gauguin encountered his first art. His motherdmired Pre-Columbian pottery, He was collectng Inca pots that some colonists dismissed as barbaric. After attending a couple of local schools he was sent to a Catholic boarding school in La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin, which he hated. He spent three years at the school. At seventeen, Gauguin sined on as a pilot’s assistant in the merchant marine to fulfill his required military service Three years later, he joined the French navy in which he served for two years. 1873, he married a Danish woman, Mette-Sophie Gad (1850–190). Over their next ten years, they had five children: Émile (1874–1955); Aline (1877–1897); Clovis (1879–1900); Jean René (1881–1961); and Paul Rollon (1883–1961). By 1884, Gauguin had moved with his family to Copenhagen, Denmark. Around 1873, he became a stockbroker, And also began painting in his free time. His Parisian life centred on the 9th arrondissement.
He returned to Paris in 1885, Paul Gauguin’s last physical contact with his wife was in 1891 .In 1887, after visiting Panama, Gauguin spent several months near Saint Pierre in Martinique. While in Martinique, he produced between ten and twenty works and traveled widely and apparently came into contact with a small community of Indian immigrants, which later influenced his art through the incorporation of Indian symbols. Gauguin, along with Émile Bernard, Charles Laval, Émile Schuffenecker and many others, frequently visited the artist colony of Pont-Aven in Brittany. They encouraged a bold use of pure color and Symbolist choice of subject matter.
Disappointed with Impressionism, Gauguin felt that traditional European painting had become too imitative and lacked symbolic depth. By contrast, the art of Africa and Asia seemed to him full of mystic symbolism and vigour. There was a vogue in Europe at the time for the art of other cultures, especially that of Japan (Japonism). He was invited to participate in the1889 exhibition .Under the influence of folk art and Japanese prints, Gauguin’s work evolved towards Cloisonnism, a style given its name by the critic Édouard Dujardin in response to Émile Bernard’s method of painting with flat areas of color and bold outlines, which reminded Dujardin of the Medieval cloisonné enamelling technique. Gauguin was very appreciative of Bernard’s art and of his daring with the employment of a style which suited Gauguin in his quest to express the essence of the objects in his art. the influence of the cloisonnist style, paved the way to Primitivism and the return to the pastoral. He was also an influential proponent of wood engraving and woodcuts as art forms
His works of that period are full of quasi-religious symbolism and an exoticized view of the inhabitants of Polynesia. In Polynesia, he sided with the native peoples, clashing often with the colonial authorities and with the Catholic Church. During this period he also wrote the book Avant et après (before and after), a fragmented collection of observations about life in Polynesia, memories from his life and comments on literature and paintings. He also used Primitivism , which was an art movement of late 19th century painting and sculpture; characterized by exaggerated body proportions, animal totems, geometric designs and stark contrasts. amazingly his paintings were not well appreciated until after his death. however Gaugiuin’s bold experimentation with coloring led directly to the Synthetist style of modern art and his art became popular after his death. Many of his paintings were in the possession of Russian collector Sergei Shchukin And he was later recognized for his experimental use of colors and synthetist style that were distinguishably different from Impressionism and he was influential to the Symbolist movement as a painter, sculptor, print-maker, ceramist, and writer, and his work also influenced that of the French Avante Garde such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse
English wildlife enthusaist Sir David Attenborugh OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS, FSA was born 8th May in 1926. He is a younger brother of the late director, producer and actor Richard Attenborough and His career as the face and voice of natural history programmes has endured for more than 50 years. He is best known for writing and presenting the Life series, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, which collectively form a comprehensive survey of all life on the planet. Attenborough grew up in College House on the campus of the University College, Leicester, where he spent his childhood collecting fossils, stones and other natural specimens. He received encouragement in this pursuit at age seven, and one of his adoptive sisters also gave him a piece of amber filled with prehistoric insects. He was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys in Leicester and then won a scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge in 1945, where he studied geology and zoology and obtained a degree in natural sciences.
In 1950, he applied for a job as a radio talks producer with the BBC and attracted the interest of the head of the Factual broadcasting department of the BBC and joined the BBC full-time. Attenborough’s association with natural history programmes began when he produced and presented the three-part series The Pattern of Animals, which discussed the use of camouflage, aposematism and courtship displays among animals. Through this programme.Attenborough met the curator of the zoo’s reptile house, and they decided to make a series about an animal-collecting expedition. The result was Zoo Quest, first broadcast in 1954, which Attenborough presented. In 1957, the BBC Natural History Unit was established and Attenborough formed the Travel and Exploration Unit, allowing him to continue to front Zoo Quest as well as produce other documentaries, notably the Travellers’ Tales. Attenborough also began studying for a post-graduate degree in social anthropology at the London School of Economics, however he returned to the BBC as controller of BBC Two before he could finish the degree and became the controller of BBC Two in March 1965 but was allowed to continue sudying as well as making programmes on an occasional basis. Later the same year, he filmed elephants in Tanzania, and in 1969, he made a series on the cultural history of the Indonesian island of Bali. For the 1971 film A Blank on the Map, he joined the first Western expedition to a remote highland valley in New Guinea to seek out a lost tribe.
As controller of BBC2 Attenborough established a portfolio of diverse and different programmes which defined the channel’s identity including music, arts, entertainment, archaeology, experimental comedy, travel, drama, sport, business, science and natural history programmes such as Man Alive, Call My Bluff, Chronicle, Life, One Pair of Eyes, The Old Grey Whistle Test, Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The Money Programme. He also ordered a 13-part series on the history of Western art, which was Broadcast in 1969 and set the blueprint for landmark documentaries. Others followed, including The Ascent of Man and Alistair Cooke’s America. Attenborough thought that the story of evolution would be a natural subject for such a series. He shared his idea with a producer at the Natural History Unit, who came up with the title Life on Earth and returned to Bristol to start planning the series.Early the following year, he returned to full-time programme-making, leaving him free to write and present the planned natural history epic. Attenborough became a freelance broadcaster and immediately started work on his next project, which resulted in the 1973 series Eastwards with Attenborough, which was similar to Zoo Quests . On his return, he began to work on Life on Earth. Due to the scale of his ambition, the BBC decided to partner with an American network meanwhile he worked on a number of other television projects including a series on tribal art (The Tribal Eye) and another on the voyages of discovery (The Explorers).
Life on Earth began production in 1976 And Attenborough set about creating a body of work which set the benchmark for wildlife film-making and influence a generation of documentary film-makers. By treating his subject seriously and researching the latest discoveries, Attenborough and his production team gained the trust of the scientific community, who responded by allowing him to feature their subjects in his programmes. In Rwanda, Attenborough and his crew were granted privileged access to film Dian Fossey’s research group of mountain gorillas. new film-making techniques were devised to get hitherto unfilmable events and animals. Attenborough also managed to visit several locations around the globe in each episode, sometimes even changing continents mid-sentence. Although appearing as the on-screen presenter, he consciously restricted his pieces to camera to give his subjects top billing. The success of Life on Earth prompted the BBC to consider a follow-up, and five years later, The Living Planet was screened dealing with the theme of ecology, how living things adapt to their environment. It was another critical and commercial success, generating huge international sales for the BBC.In 1990, The Trials of Life completed the original Life trilogy, looking at animal behaviour through the different stages of life.
In 1993, he continued with Life in the Freezer, which surveyed the natural history of Antarctica, and then embarked on a number of more specialised surveys of the natural world, beginning with plants. The result, The Private Life of Plants , showed plants as dynamic organisms by using time-lapse photography to speed up their growth. Attenborough then made The Life of Birds dealing with Avian matters. Technological developments in camera technology played a big part in subsequent program’s and for the next series Life of Mammals, low-light and infrared cameras were deployed to reveal the behaviour of nocturnal mammals. Advances in macro photography also made it possible to capture natural behaviour of very small creatures for the first time, and in 2005, Life in the Undergrowth dealt with the hitherto hidden world of invertebrates.The Next series Attenborough made was Life in Cold Blood which dealt with Reptiles and Amphibians.
The Life program’s were assembled In a DVD encyclopaedia called Life on Land. Then in 2010 Attenborough made First Life — dealing with evolutionary history before Life on Earth. He has continued to work on other documentaries, and his voice is synonymous with many other wildlife documentaries including The First Eden, Lost Worlds Vanished Lives, Wildlife on One, BBC Wildlife Specials, The Blue Planet, Nature’s Great Events, Life, Frozen Planet, Wildlife on One and the Natural World. n 1997, he narrated the BBC Wildlife Specials, each focussing on a charismatic species, and screened to mark the Natural History Unit’s 40th anniversary, and continued to collaborate with the BBC Natural History Unit in the new millennium. Attenborough then narrated The Blue Planet (2001), which dealt with marine life, And Planet Earth (2006), the biggest nature documentary ever made for television. In 2011, he narrated Frozen Planet featuring the Natural History of the Polar Regions.In 2009, he co-wrote and narrated Life, a ten-part series focussing on extraordinary animal behaviour, and narrated Nature’s Great Events, which showed how seasonal changes trigger major natural spectacles.
Recently Attenborough’s documentaries have became more overtly environmentalist. In State of the Planet, he assesses the impact man’s activities have had on the natural world by using scientific evidence and interviews with leading scientists and conservationists. He has also addressed global warming (The Truth about Climate Change) and human population growth (How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?) and Highlighted the plight of endangered species in BBC’s Saving Planet Earth project in 2007, the 50th anniversary of the Natural History Unit. Attenborough is also working on documentaries for Sky’s new 3D network, Sky 3D. Their first collaboration was Flying Monsters 3D, a film about pterosaurs a second film, The Bachelor King, followed a year later, and further collaborations are planned including a series on plants, and following that, a series on the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. and a second series of First Life, which explored the origins of life on Earth.
In 2012 Attenborough celebrated 50 years in broadcasting and during this long and distinguished career he has been given many honorary degrees by British universities. In 1980, he was honoured by the Open University. He also has honorary Doctor of Science awards from the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and the University of Bath. In 2006, he received the title of Distinguished Honorary Fellows of the University of Leicester, “in recognition of a record of continuing distinguished service to the University.” David Attenborough was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the university in 1970, and was made an honorary Freeman of the City of Leicester in 1990. He has also received the title Honorary Fellow from Clare College, Cambridge, the Zoological Society of London, the Linnean Society, the Institute of Biology and the Society of Antiquaries, snd was named as the most trusted celebrity in Britain in a 2006 Reader’s Digest poll. The following year he won The Culture Show’s Living Icon Award and was also named among the 100 Greatest Britons in a 2002 BBC poll and is one of the top ten “Heroes of Our Time” according to New Statesman magazine.
He also has the distinction of having a number of newly-discovered species and fossils being named in his honour. In 1993, a fossilised Mesozoic armoured fish discovered in Western Australia was given the name Materpiscis attenboroughi, which is also believed to be the earliest organism capable of internal fertilisation. He has also lent his name to a species of Ecuadorian flowering tree, Blakea attenboroughi, one of the world’s largest-pitchered carnivorous plants, Nepenthes attenboroughii, and one of only four species of long-beaked echidna, the critically endangered Zaglossus attenboroughi, discovered by explorer and zoologist Tim Flannery in the Cyclops Mountains of New Guinea in 1998, and In September 2009, London’s Natural History Museum opened the Attenborough Studio, part of its Darwin Centre development. An arctic research vessel has also recently been named Sir David Attenborough. Attenborough’s contribution to broadcasting and wildlife film-making has brought him international recognition. He has been called “the great communicator, the peerless educator” and “the greatest broadcaster of our time”. His programmes are often cited as an example of what public service broadcasting should be, and have influenced a generation of wildlife film-makers.
The late, great American Author Peter Bradford Benchley was born May 8, 1940. He was the son of Marjorie (née Bradford) and author Nathaniel Benchley and grandson of Algonquin Round Table founder Robert Benchley. His younger brother, Nat Benchley, is a writer and actor. Peter Benchley was an alumnus of The Allen-Stevenson School, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Harvard University. After graduating from college in 1961, Benchley travelled around the world for a year. The experience was told in his first book, a travel memoir titled Time and a Ticket, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1964. Following his return to America, Benchley spent six months reserve duty in the Marine Corps, and then became a reporter for The Washington Post.
While dining at an inn in Nantucket, Benchley met Winifred “Wendy” Wesson, whom he dated and then married the following year, 1964. By then Benchley was in New York, working as television editor for Newsweek. In 1967 he became a speechwriter in the White House for President Lyndon B. Johnson, and his daughter Tracy was also born 1967. Once Johnson’s term ended in 1969, the Benchleys moved out of Washington, and lived in various places, including an island off Stonington, Connecticut where son Clayton was born in 1969. Peter wanted to be near New York, and the family eventually got a house at Pennington, New Jersey in 1970. By 1971, Benchley began doing various freelance jobs in his struggle to support his wife and children. His literary agent arranged many meetings with publishers. Benchley would frequently pitch two ideas, a non-fiction book about pirates, and a novel depicting a man-eating shark terrorizing a community. This idea had been developed by Benchley since he had read a news report of a fisherman catching a 4,550 pound great white shark off the coast of Long Island in 1964.
The shark novel eventually attracted Doubleday editor Thomas Congdon, who offered Benchley an advance of $1,000 leading to the novelist submitting the first 100 pages. Much of the work had to be rewritten as the publisher was not happy with the initial tone. Benchley worked by winter in his Pennington office, and in the summer in a converted turkey coop in the Wessons’ farm in Stonington. The idea was inspired by the several great white sharks caught in the 1960s off Long Island and Block Island by the Montauk charterboat captain Frank Mundus. Jaws was published in 1974 and became a great success, staying on the bestseller list for some 44 weeks. Steven Spielberg has said that he initially found many of the characters unsympathetic and wanted the shark to win. Book critics such as Michael A. Rogers of Rolling Stone shared the sentiment however the book struck a chord with readers.
Benchley also co-wrote the screenplay with Carl Gottlieb (along with the uncredited Howard Sackler and John Milius, who provided the first draft of a monologue about the USS Indianapolis) for the Spielberg film released in 1975. Benchley made a cameo appearance as a news reporter on the beach. The film, starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss, was released in the summer season, with editing by Verna Fields, score by John Williams and directed by Steven Spielberg who was credited with infusing the film with such an air of understated menace that he was hailed as the heir apparent to “Master of Suspense” Alfred Hitchcock. Jaws became the first film to gross over $100 million in United States and grossed over $470 million worldwide. George Lucas used a similar strategy in 1977 for Star Wars which broke the box office records set by Jaws, and hence the summer blockbuster was born. The film spawned three sequels, none of which matched the success of the original critically or commercially, two video games, Jaws in 1987 and Jaws Unleashed in 2006 and was also adapted into a theme park attraction at Universal Studios Florida (in Orlando, Florida and Hollywood), and two musicals: JAWS The Musical!, which premiered in the summer of 2004 at the Minnesota Fringe Festival; and Giant Killer Shark: The Musical, which premiered in the summer of 2006 at the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Benchley’s second novel, The Deep, is about a honeymooning couple who discover sunken treasures on the Bermuda reefs—17th-century Spanish gold and a fortune in World War Two-era morphine and are subsequently targeted by a drug syndicate. This 1976 novel is based on Benchley’s chance meeting in Bermuda with diver Teddy Tucker while writing a story for National Geographic. Benchley co-wrote the screenplay for the 1977 film release, along with Tracy Keenan Wynn and an uncredited Tom Mankiewicz. Directed by Peter Yates and starring Robert Shaw, Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset, it was released in 1977. Benchley’s third novel The Island, was published in 1979, was a story of descendants of 17th century pirates who terrorize pleasure craft in the Caribbean, leading to the Bermuda Triangle mystery. Benchley again wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation for the film version of The Island, starring Michael Caine and co-starring David Warner. During the 1980s, Benchley wrote three novels, Girl of the Sea of Cortez, a fable influenced by John Steinbeck about man’s complicated relationship with the sea, Which featured Benchley’s growing interest in ecological issues and anticipated his future role as an impassioned advocate of the importance of protecting the marine environment. Q Clearance, which was published in 1989, which is a semi-autobiographical work, loosely inspired by the Benchley family’s history of alcohol abuse. In 1991 Benchley wrote the novel Beast about a Giant Squid threatening Burmuda. Beast was brought to the small screen as a made-for-television film in 1996, under the title The Beast. His next novel, White Shark, was published in 1994 and was the story of a Nazi-created genetically engineered shark/human hybrid. White Shark was also turned into a made-for-television film titled Creature. Also in 1994, Benchley hosted Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. In 1999, the television show Peter Benchley’s Amazon was created, about a group of plane crash survivors in the middle of a vast jungle.
Benchley later wrote factual works about the sea and about sharks advocating their conservation. Among these was Shark Trouble, which illustrated how hype and news sensationalism can help undermine the public’s need to understand marine ecosystems and the potential negative consequences as humans interact with it. Shark Trouble was written to help the public understand “the sea in all its beauty, mystery, and power.” And mentions that man’s relationship with the marine environment, particularly his ignorance and greed, have led to many marine species becoming increasingly threatened with extinction. Benchley was a member of the National Council of Environmental Defense and a spokesman for its Oceans Program and was also one of the founding board members of the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI). Benchley sadly died on 11 February 2006 of pulmonary fibrosis in 2006. But leaves a rich legacy of novels and television work. The Peter Benchley Ocean Awards were also instituted by Wendy Benchley and David Helvarg In light of Peter Benchley’s life-long record of shark conservation and educating the public about sharks.
Dave Rowntree the drummer with seminal Bitpop band Blur was Born 8th May 1964. Blur were Formed in London in 1988 as Seymour, and consists of singer/ keyboard player Damon Albarn, guitarist/singer Graham Coxon, bass player Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree. Blur’s debut album Leisure (1991) incorporated the sounds of Madchester and shoegazing. Following a stylistic change influenced by English guitar pop groups such as The Kinks, The Beatles and XTC, Blur released Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994) and The Great Escape (1995). As a result, the band helped to popularise the Britpop genre and achieved mass popularity in the UK, aided by a chart battle with rival band Oasis in 1995 dubbed “The Battle of Britpop”
In recording their follow-up, Blur (1997), the band underwent another reinvention, showing influence from the lo-fi style of American indie rock groups. “Song 2″, one of the album’s singles, brought Blur mainstream success in the United States. Their next album, 13 (1999) saw the band members experimenting with electronic and gospel music, and featured more personal lyrics from Albarn. In May 2002, Coxon left Blur during the recording of their seventh album Think Tank (2003). Containing electronic sounds and more minimal guitar work, the album was marked by Albarn’s growing interest in hip hop and African music. After a 2003 tour without Coxon, Blur did no studio work or touring as a band, as members engaged in other projects, Albarn collaborated with The Gorillaz. However In 2008 Blur reunited, with Coxon back in the fold, for a series of concerts and have continued to release several singles and retrospective releases. In 2012, Blur received a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Blur’s latest album is The Magic Whip and Gorillaz latest album is Song Machine featuring musical contributions from Robert Smith, Elton John, Leee John and many others.