Steig Larsson

Swedish journalist and writer “Stieg” Larsson was Born 15 August 1954. He is best known for writing the “Millennium series” of crime novels, which were published posthumously. Larsson lived and worked much of his life in Stockholm, in the field of journalism and as an independent researcher of right-wing extremism. He was the second best-selling author in the world for 2008, behind Khaled Hosseini. By December 2011, his “Millennium series” had sold 65 million copies; its last part, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, became the most sold book in the United States in 2010.Larsson’s first efforts at fiction writing were not in the genre of crime, but rather science fiction. An avid science fiction reader from an early age, he became active in Swedish science fiction fandom around 1971, co-edited with Rune Forsgren his first fanzine, Sfären, in 1972, and attended his first science fiction convention, SF•72, in Stockholm. Through the 1970s, Larsson published around 30 additional fanzine issues; after his move to Stockholm in 1977 he became active in the Scandinavian SF Society where he was a board member in 1978 and 1979, and chairman in 1980.

In his first fanzines, 1972–1974, he published a handful of early short stories while submitting others to other semi-professional or amateur magazines. SwedenHe was co-editor or editor of several science fiction fanzines, including Sfären and FIJAGH!; in 1978–1979 he was president of the largest Swedish science fiction fan club, Skandinavisk Förening för Science Fiction (SFSF). An account of this period in Larsson’s life, along with detailed information on his fanzine writing and short stories, is included in the biographical essays written by Larsson’s friend John-Henri Holmberg in The Tattooed Girl, by Holmberg with Dan Burstein and Arne De Keijzer, 2011.In early June 2010, manuscripts for two such stories, as well as fanzines with one or two others, were noted in the Swedish National Library (to which this material had been donated a few years earlier, mainly by the Alvar Appeltofft Memorial Foundation, which works to further science fiction fandom in Sweden). This discovery of what was called “unknown” works by Larsson also caused considerable excitement.

while working as a photographer, Larsson became engaged in far-left political activism. He became a member of Kommunistiska Arbetareförbundet (Communist Workers’ League), edited the Swedish Trotskyist journal Fjärde internationalen, journal of the Swedish section of the Fourth International. He also wrote regularly for the weekly Internationalen. Larsson spent parts of 1977 in Eritrea, training a squad of female Eritrean People’s Liberation Front guerrillas in the use of grenade launchers, but became ill and was forced to return to Sweden, Upon his return to Sweden, he worked as a graphic designer at the largest Swedish news agency, Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå. Larsson’s political convictions, as well as his journalistic experiences, led him to found the Swedish Expo Foundation, similar to the British Searchlight Foundation, established to “counteract the growth of the extreme right and the white power-culture in schools and among young people.” He also became the editor of the foundation’s magazine, Expo, in 1995.When he was not at his day job, he worked on independent research of right-wing extremism in Sweden. In 1991, his research resulted in his first book Extremhögern (Extreme Right). Larsson quickly became instrumental in documenting and exposing Swedish extreme right and racist organizations; he was an influential debater and lecturer on the subject, reportedly living for years under death threats from his political enemies. The political party Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) was a major subject of his research.

However soon after Larsson’s death, the manuscripts of three completed, but unpublished, novels – written as a series – were discovered. He had written them for his own pleasure after returning home from his job in the evening, and had made no attempt to get them published until shortly before his death. The first was published in Sweden in 2005 as Swedish: Män som hatar kvinnor – literally – Men who hate women. It was titled for the English-language market as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and published in the United Kingdom in February 2008. It was awarded the Glass Key award as the best Nordic crime novel in 2005. His second novel, Flickan som lekte med elden (The Girl Who Played with Fire), received the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award in 2006, and was published in the United Kingdom in January 2009. The third novel in the Millennium series, Luftslottet som sprängdes (“The air castle that was blown up”), published in English as The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, was published in the United Kingdom in October 2009, and the United States in May 2010. Larsson left about three quarters of a fourth novel on a notebook computer, now possessed by his partner, Eva Gabrielsson: synopses or manuscripts of the fifth and sixth in the series, which he intended to contain an eventual total of ten books, may also exist. Gabrielsson has stated in her book, “There Are Things I Want You to Know” About Stieg Larsson and Me (2011) that finishing the book is a task that she is capable of doing.

The Swedish film production company Yellow Bird has produced film versions of the Millennium series, co-produced with the Danish film production company Nordisk Film, which were released in Scandinavia in 2009. Larsson Sadly passed away on 9 November 2004 in Stockholm at the age of 50 of a heart attack after climbing seven flights of stairs to his office because the lift was not working. There were rumours that his death was in some way induced, because of death threats received as editor of Expo, but these have been denied by Eva Gedin, his Swedish publisher. Stieg Larsson is interred at the Högalid church cemetery in the district of Södermalm in Stockholm. Novellist David Lagencrantz has written further novels “The Girl in the Spiders Web” and “The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye” which is due for release in 2017, both of which continue the Millenium Saga and remain faithful to Steig Larsson’s original novels.

 

Fifteen Guinea Special

Stanier Black Five 45110

August 11 marks the anniversary of the 1T57 Fifteen Guinea Special rail tour which took place 11 August 1968 and was organised to mark the last occasion a steam hauled passenger train could legally run on the mainline in theUnited Kingdom before British Rail introduced a Steam ban the following day. It ran from Liverpool via Manchester to Carlisle and back, and was pulled by four different steam locomotives in turn during the four legs of the journey (with two engines sharing the third leg). The Fifteen Guinea Special was so named because of the high price for tickets on the railtour (15 guineas = £15 15s 0d in pre-decimal British currency). Ticket prices had been inflated due to the high demand to travel on the last BR steam-hauled mainline train.

The end of steam-hauled trains on British Railways was a turning point in the history of rail travel in Britain. The BR steam ban was introduced the day after the railtour, on 12 August 1968, making the Fifteen Guinea Special the last steam-hauled passenger train to be run by BR on its standard gauge network (though BR would continue to operate three steam locomotives on the narrow gauge Vale of Rheidol line until it was privatised in 1989). After this point all trains in Britain would be hauled by diesel or electric power, with the exception of privately owned heritage railways and privately run charters that are now able to run on the mainline provided that the steam locomotive has received necessary certification. The only steam locomotive to which the ban did not apply was Flying Scotsmandue to a clause in the contract in which she was purchased from BR in 1963. Several other railtours had already marked the end of steam haulage on other parts of the British (not UK) network. During most of these railtours, the Fifteen Guinea Special included, the line was flanked with large crowds due to the high popularity of steam engines and the belief that it was highly unlikely that they would be allowed back onto the network, although in the event steam specials on BR lines were introduced only three years later in 1971. All but one of the locomotives that hauled the train passed into preservation. 45110 now resides on the Severn Valley Railway and has been named RAF Biggin Hill. 44871 is currently mainline operational and resides on the East Lancashire Railway and 70013 Oliver Cromwell is now part of the National Collection and was restored to mainline running in 2008. It is based on the Great Central Railway. The only one not preserved LMS Black 5 no 44781 was used for filming of the film The Virgin Soldiers, for which it was derailed and hung at an angle for visual effect. After filming was completed, an enthusiast tried to purchase her, but was unable to find the money needed, so she was then sold for scrap and eventually cut up.

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of 1T57′ and end of steam on British Railways a re-run of the tour ran on Sunday 10 August 2008 (as 11 August was a Monday in 2008). The original tour ran from Liverpool Lime Street-Manchester Victoria-Carlisle-Manchester Victoria-Liverpool Lime Street. Class 5 45110 went from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Victoria! While Britannia Class 70013 Oliver Cromwell travelled from Manchester Victoria to Carlisle! While Stanier Class 5 44871 and LMS Stanier Class 5 44781 travelled from Carlisle to Manchester Victoria and LMS Class 5 45110 Travelled from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool Lime Street. Locomotives used during the re-run in 2008 Included Stanier Class 8F 48151, Britannia class 70013 Oliver Cromwell, LMS Stanier Class 5 45407 (as first choice, 44871 was under overhaul) and LMS Class 5 45231. LMS Class 5 45110 was not used as its mainline certificate had expired. However, 45110 ran over the Severn Valley Railway on 11 August 2008 with a special 1T57 service and this was 45110’s last day in service with its at-the-time boiler certificate. LMS Class 5 45305 was allocated to the original train back in 1968 but failed the night before and was replaced by 45110.

The 15 Guinea Special at Barton Moss on the last leg from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool Lime Street hauled by Stanier 5MT 45110.The railtour started at 09:10 from Liverpool Lime Street. It was hauled by LMS Class 5 45110 to Manchester Victoria, arriving 8 minutes late at 10:42. No. 45110 was replaced with Britannia Class loco no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell – the last steam locomotive to be overhauled by BR – and the train departed for Carlisle at 11:06. The train arrived at Carlisle, 33 minutes late, at 15:29. For the first part of the return leg, two LMS Stanier Class 5 locomotives, 44781 and 44871, double-headed the train back to Manchester Victoria. The train departed Carlisle at 15:44 – 14 minutes late – and arrived in Manchester at 19:00, 12 minutes late. Re-joining the train at Victoria station, 45110 then worked the remainder of the journey back to Liverpool Lime Street, arriving only 9 minutes late at 19:59

Michael Johnson

American pop, country and folk singer-songwriter and guitarist Michael Johnson was born August 8, 1944 in  Alamosa, Colorado and grew up in Denver. He started playing the guitar at 13. In 1963, he began attending Colorado State University to study music but his college career was truncated when he won an international talent contest two years later. First prize included a deal with Epic Records. Epic released the song “Hills”, written and sung by Johnson, as a single. Johnson began extensive touring of clubs and colleges, finding a receptive audience everywhere he went. Wishing to hone his instrumental skills, in 1966 he set off for Barcelona, Spain, to the Liceu Conservatory, studying with the eminent classical guitarists, Graciano Tarragó and Renata Tarragó. ON returning to USA he joined Randy Sparks in a group called the New Society and did a tour of the Orient.

When New Society split in 1967, he signed on with the Chad Mitchell Trio for a year, spending some of that time co-writing with another member, John Denver. The group was renamed Denver, Boise & Johnson. When the trio came to an end, Johnson made a radical departure from everything he had done previously by taking on a major supporting role in the off-Broadway production of “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.” Which visited New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago

In 1971, Johnson signed with Atco Records to release his first album, There Is A Breeze, which was released in 1973 and produced by Johnson, Chris Dedrick, Peter Yarrow and Phil Ramone in New York and Toronto, Canada. Feeling this first effort wasn’t a true reflection of his music (despite being a huge best seller in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area), Johnson self-produced his next LP in 1975, For All You Mad Musicians, relying more on his voice and guitar for a folk feel. He followed this up with Ain’t Dis Da Life, where he added a rhythm section. With each new recording and his continued touring, his popularity was increasing. It was time to make a move on the national market.

Teaming up with Brent Maher and Steve Gibson in Nashville, Tennessee, Johnson created a two-song demo consisting of “Bluer Than Blue” and “Almost Like Being in Love” (the latter song from the Broadway musical Brigadoon). EMI America took one listen and wasted no time in signing him, quickly getting The Michael Johnson Album out in 1978. The first single, “Bluer Than Blue”, became Johnson’s first Top 40 hit, peaking at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the summer of 1978; the song became a chart-topping single on the Adult Contemporary chart. “Almost Like Being in Love” went to No. 91 on the R&B chart while hitting the Top 5 on the AC chart and the Top 40 on the pop chart. His next EMI album, Dialogue, provided his third big hit, “This Night Won’t Last Forever” and a Gold Record for European sales of “I’ll Always Love You”. He is best known for his 1978 hit song “Bluer Than Blue”. He charted four hits on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and nine more on the Hot Country Songs charts, including two Number One country hits in 1986’s “Give Me Wings” and “The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder”.

Johnson recorded five albums in all for EMI and in 1985 moved over to RCA Records, where he adopted a country style that stayed compatible with his soft, mellow leanings. He scored five Top Ten country hits from 1986 to 1989, including the chart-toppers “Give Me Wings” and “The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder.” After two country albums on RCA (plus two greatest hits collections), Johnson moved over to Atlantic Records in 1991. He recorded sporadically in the 1990s for smaller labels. In 1995,Johnson co-wrote an updated version of “Cain’s Blood with Jack Sundrud of Poco for the country music group 4 Runner and also proved to be a successful writer of prose when he penned “The Solo Performer” columns for the magazine Performing Songwriter from 1993-98. Sadly Johnson died at his home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 25, 2017 at the age of 72

International Cat Day

International Cat Day is a celebrated annually on August 8. It was created in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare. World Cat Day is also celebrated on 17 February in much of Europe and on 1 March in Russia. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was founded by a small group of people in 1969, to stop the commercial hunt for seal pups in Canada. One of IFAW’s founders, and possibly its most well known member, is Brian Davies. With offices in over a dozen countries, and projects in more than 40 IFAW is one of the largest animal welfare organisations in the world. Activities undertaken by the International Fund for Animal Welfare include:

  • Rescuing and releasing whales, dolphins and porpoises that have stranded or been entangled in nets and fishing gear.
  • Promoting whale watching, as an alternative to whale hunting.
  • protecting the last 400 critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, and have developed acoustic detection systems, and collaborate with lobstermen, commercial fishers and shipping industries to prevent collisions with ships and gear entanglements.
  • Educating people worldwide Through the Animal Action Education about animal welfare and wildlife conservation issues
  • helping companion animals in underserved communities around the world Through their Community-Linked Animal Welfare (CLAW) projects.
  • Training customs officers and game wardens in many countries to prevent the killing of endangered species.
  • protecting elephants by protecting critical elephant habitats, managing human-elephant conflict, preventing poaching, ending illegal ivory trade and rescuing orphan and injured elephants.
  • Carrying out legislative and educational campaigns across the globe to prevent cruelty to animals, preserve endangered species, and protect wildlife habitats.

IFAW is best known for its leading role in the campaigns to end the commercial seal hunt in Canada and end commercial whaling, as well as its work to help dogs and cats in impoverished communities, protect elephants, end illegal ivory trade, rescue and release of wild animals such orphan rhino and rescue of animals in the wake of disasters such as hurricane Katrina in the US.

unfortunately The International Fund for Animal Welfare was involved in controversy after it was discovered that the financial manager of the Brian Davies Foundation, invested IFAW’s money in organizations that carried out animal experiments, such as Bausch & Lomb, US Surgicals, Glaxo, Merck, Abbot, Upjohn, Philip Morris and McDonald’s. However this was resolved When the investment was drawn to the attention of IFAW’s trustees,  the shares were sold immediately and the financial manager concerned was dismissed. When Davies retired from IFAW in 1997 to start Network For Animals, IFAW wanted to use his name and image for fundraising and campaigns. In return, he was to receive $2.5 million over seven years. The contract was important for the continued level of success that IFAW achieved with Davies’ leadership, according to research on successful animal welfare organizations”.

Rikki Rocket (Poison)

Rikki Rockett,(Richard Allan Ream), the American drummer with American glam metal band Poison was Born 8th August 1961,Poison achieved great success in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. Poison has sold over 30 million records worldwide and have sold 15 million records in the United States alone. The band has also charted ten singles to the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, including six Top 10 singles and the Hot 100 number-one single, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn“. The band become icons of the ’80s MTV era and have had widespread commercial success. The band’s break through debut album, the multi platinum Look What the Cat Dragged In was released in 1986 and they hit their peak with the second album, the multi-platinum selling Open Up and Say… Ahh! which became the band’s most successful album. The popularity continued into the new decade with their third consecutive multi platinum selling album Flesh & Blood.

In the 90′s following the release of the bands first live album Swallow This Live, the band experienced some line up changes and the fall of Pop Metal with the grunge movement, but despite the drop in popularity the bands fourth studio album Native Tongue still achieved Gold status and the bands first compilation album Poison’s Greatest Hits: 1986–1996 went double platinum.In the 2000s, with the original line up back together, the band found new popularity after a successful greatest hits reunion tour in 1999. The band began the new decade with the release of the long awaited Crack a Smile… and More!, followed by the Power to the People album. The band toured almost every year to sold out stadiums and arenas. They released a brand new album Hollyweird in 2002 and in 2006 the band celebrated their 20 year Anniversary with The Best of Poison: 20 Years of Rock tour and album, which was certified Gold and marked Poison’s return to the Billboard 200 top 20 charts for the first time since 1993. Band members have released several solo albums and starred in successful reality TV shows. After 25 years, the band is still recording music and performing. Since their debut in 1986, they have released approximately seven studio albums, four live albums, five compilation albums, and 28 singles.

Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.

The science fiction film Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 was released in U.K cinema 5 August 1966. It stars Bernard Cribbins as Tom Campbell, a London Special Constable, Who tries to prevent a burglary at a jewellery shop. Running to what appears to be a nearby police box to call for backup Tom encounters Dr. Who, (Peter Cushing) with his niece Louise and his granddaughter Susan in their time-machine the TARDIS,

The Doctor pilots the TARDIS forward in time to 2150, where they find that London is now an empty landscape of demolished buildings. And discover that The evil Daleks, one-time adversaries of the Doctor, have invaded Earth and ravaged entire continents, while humanity’s remnants have formed underground resistance movement. Some captured humans have been turned into brainwashed slaves called Robomen, but the majority have been taken to the Dalek mining complex in Bedfordshire, where the aliens’ excavations extend to the core of the Earth. Louise and Susan are taken in by a group of rebels based in the London Underground, led by Wyler, David, and the wheelchair-bound Dortmun. Meanwhile, Tom and the Doctor are captured by a squad of Robomen and taken on board a Dalek spaceship, where they are placed in a cell with a man called Craddock. Then While Doctor, Tom and Craddock undergo the conversion procedure into Robomen, the rebels attack, During the battle, the Doctor flees with David while Tom and Louise and stow away in a deserted part of the ship. The Daleks escape and take off for the Bedford mine with few prisoner losses.

Outnumbered by Daleks the Rebel Wyler retreats and returns to the rebel hideout, where Dortmun and Susan are waiting. The group commandeer a van to rendezvous with any remaining survivors in Watford, but Dortmun is killed by a Dalek patrol and Wyler and Susan are forced to flee. Wyler and Susan set off for the Bedford mine. David and the Doctor are also heading for the same destination, but are confronted by Brockley, an unscrupulous smuggler. When The spaceship touches down at the mine Tom and Louise exit the craft and take refuge. Elsewhere Wyler and Susan shelter at a hut owned by a pair of spinsters who repair slave workers’ clothes in return for freedom and food. However, the women betray them to the Daleks. David and the Doctor are brought into the mine by Brockley, and are reunited with Tom and Louise. A miner named Conway, reveals that the Daleks are planning to drop a bomb into their mineshaft to punch out the Earth’s core, which will be replaced with a giant motor enabling the aliens to pilot Earth to their home world of Skaro.

However, The Doctor discovers a convergence point between the North and South Magnetic Poles and deduces that, if the bomb were deflected the explosion’s magnetic energy could defeat the Daleks. So the Doctor thinks of a plan. However Brockley betrays the Doctor to the Daleks. The treacherous Brockley then tries to escape himself, but is killed by Daleks. In the mineshaft, Tom and Conway confront Craddock who is now a Roboman. Meanwhile the Doctor is sent to the Dalek command centre for extermination and discovers Wyler and Susan. After distracting the Daleks, Wyler programs the Robomen to turn against the Daleks And all hell breaks loose. Doctor escapes with Wyler and Susan, while the slave workers flee from the mine. The Daleks manage to release their bomb into the shaft, with explosive results.

Blade Runner

Blade Runner is a 1982 dystopian science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. The film, is a loose adaptation of the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in which genetically engineered replicants, which are visually indistinguishable from adult humans, are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation to work in hazardous environments on off-world colonies. Those that escape and return to Earth are hunted down and “retired” by special police operatives known as Blade Runners.

The film won the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. The film’s soundtrack, composed by Vangelis, was also critically acclaimed and nominated in 1983 for a BAFTA and Golden Globe as best original score. The film brought the work of Philip K. Dick to the attention of Hollywood and several later films were based on his work. Ridley Scott regards Blade Runner as “probably” his most complete and personal film. In 1993, the movie was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. Blade Runner is now regarded by many critics as one of the all-time best science fiction movies. Seven versions of the film have been shown for various markets as a result of controversial changes made by studio executives. A director’s cut was released in 1992 and In 2007, Warner Bros. released The Final Cut, a 25th anniversary digitally remastered version. A sequel, Blade Runner 2049, is scheduled for release in October 2017.

Blade Runner is set In bleak Los Angeles in November 2019, where ex-police officer Rick Deckard works as a “Blade Runner” tracking down bioengineered beings known as replicants which have gone rogue and “retiring them” (a euphemism for killing). He is informed by his supervisor Bryant that four Tyrell Corporation Nexus-6 Replicants have come to Earth illegally. Although these Replicants only have a four-year lifespan they are extremely dangerous and are seeking ways to extend their lifespan. Deckard watches a video of a Blade Runner named Holden administering the “Voight-Kampff” test designed to distinguish replicants from humans based on their emotional response to questions. The test subject, Leon, shoots Holden after Holden asks about Leon’s mother. So Bryant asks Deckard to retire Leon and the other three replicants: Roy Batty, Zhora, and Pris. Understandably Deckard does not want to be Leon’s next victim and refuses. Bryant however coerces Deckard and he reluctantly agrees.

Deckard begins his investigation at the Tyrell Corporation to ensure that the test works on Nexus-6 models. While there, he discovers that Eldon Tyrell’s assistant Rachael is an experimental replicant who believes herself to be human. Rachael has been given false memories to provide an “emotional cushion”. As a result, a more extensive test is required to determine whether she is a replicant.

While Deckard searches for the replicants, the Replicants themselves are searching for Tyrell. Roy and Leon investigate a replicant eye-manufacturing laboratory and learn of J. F. Sebastian, a gifted genetic designer who works closely with Tyrell. Rachael visits Deckard. meanwhile Pris locates J.F. Sebastian. Later While searching Leon’s hotel room, Deckard finds a photo of Zhora and a synthetic snake scale that leads him to a strip club where Zhora works. Deckard is then told by Bryant to retire Rachael, who has disappeared from the Tyrell Corporation. Deckard spots Rachael in a crowd, and is attacked by Leon, but Rachael kills Leon.

Arriving at Sebastian’s apartment, Roy tells Pris the others are dead. Sympathetic to their plight, Sebastian reveals that because of “Methuselah Syndrome”, a genetic premature aging disorder, his life will also be cut short. Sebastian and Roy enter Tyrell’s secure penthouse, where Roy demands more life from his maker. However Tyrell tells him that it is impossible. So Roy kills Tyrell and Sebastian. Deckard then arrives at Sebastian’s apartment but is attacked by Pris. Roy then arrives and chases Deckard through the building in an exciting finale, intent on killing him, however Roy does something unexpected which causes Deckard to question the replicants humanity….