September 25, 2014

The Beatles: Good News For Fans This week


This has been a good week for Beatles fans, as George Harrison’s first six studio albums have been re-released and Conan, in turn, has celebrated “George Harrison Week.”

All week the show has been showcasing Harrison covers from various stars including (on Monday night) Beck, and last night the guest was Paul Simon.

Harkening back to his performance alongside Harrison in a 1976 Saturday Night Live episode, the singer performed a lovely cover of Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun (above).

By Aisha Harris

With thanks to Slate.

But there's more.....
The Sydney Opera House will play host to a new Beatles production, All You Need Is Love, in January.



‘All You Need Is Love’ will feature the 50 piece Strawberry Fields Orchestra with Musical Director Paul Gray , Conducted by Nicholas Buc , with Vocal Direction by Lindsay Field and Orchestra leader Adrian Keating.

Jack Jones, Ciaran Gribbin, Darren Percival and Jackson Thomas have lined up for vocals.
‘All You Need Is Love’ is the latest production in a line of Beatles musicals from Phil Bathols and Tim Woods. 

The pair developed and produced Let It Be, The White Album Concert and Beatles Back2Back.

All You Need is Love is on January 2, 3 and 4 at the Sydney Opera House.
By Paul Cashmere

With thanks to Noise 11

Still more... 

The Beatles Release Free 4 EP



The Beatles are offering a free EP ‘4’ via iTunes for fans.

The 4 song digital EP highlights each of the four Beatles solo.

The tracks featured are:

John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band – Love (from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, 1970)

Paul McCartney – Call Me Back Again (from Venus and Mars, 1975)

George Harrison – Let It Down (from All Things Must Pass, 1970)  - above

Ringo Starr – ‘Walk With You’ (from Y Not, 2010)

Download your free Beatles ‘4’ EP here.

By Paul Cashmere 

With thanks to Noise 11


Conan O’Brien paid tribute to the late George Harrison this week with performances from Paul Simon and Beck earlier in the week. The week long tribute was to coincide with the release of the new George Harrison box set ‘The Apple Years’ featuring George’s first six Apple albums.

Norah will also perform this Sunday at George Fest at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles.
The line-up includes:
George Fest 2014 Lineup:
Brian Wilson
Norah Jones
Brandon Flowers & Mark Stoermer (The Killers)
Wayne Coyne & Steven Drozd (The Flaming Lips)
Ben Harper
Ann Wilson (Heart)
Britt Daniel (Spoon)
“Weird Al” Yankovic
Nick Valensi (The Strokes)
Dhani Harrison
Ian Astbury
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Butch Walker
Cold War Kids
Karen Elson
Brian Bell (Weezer)
Big Black Delta
Chase Cohl
Jamestown Revival
Matt Sorum
Ryan Miller (Guster)
The Black Ryder
Ginnger Shankar

By Paul Kashmir
With thanks to Noise 11



Freda Kelly Recalls Her Days of Working With the Beatles - "Good Ol' Freda"

8th August 1969: The Beatles Waiting To Cross Abbey Road 
 ‘Man on the Run’: New Book About Paul McCartney After The Beatles
Arthur Alexander: The Forgotten Songwriter Who Inspired The Beatles, Bob Dylan And The Rolling Stones
George Harrison's Apple Years Box Set To Be Released
The Art of McCartney Project
Paul McCartney: Destiny Game Song "Hope For The Future"
Beatles Lyrics Reveal Enduring Words Of Love And Life
Glyn Johns: Defining That Classic-Rock Sound
Fender Stratocaster: A Design Icon At 60
The Traveling Wilburys: Their History
George Harrison and The Bee Gees To Receive Recording Academy Honors 
John Lennon or Paul McCartney? Matt Schichter Documentary Offers 550 Answers
Are These The Best Double Albums Ever?
Sir Paul McCartney To Induct Ringo Starr Into Hall Of Fame
'American Pie' Lyrics Sell For $1.2 million In New York

 Penny Lane: Original On The Block, Minus The Fanfare
The Three Lennon-McCartney Hits That Went to No. 1 Without Lennon or McCartney
The Beatles 1 To Be Reissued With 50 Videos 
John Lennon Born 75 Years Ago Today  
John Lennon's Long-Lost Gibson J-160E Guitar Sells for Record $2.4 Million 
George Harrison's Catalogue Is Now Streaming  
Ringo Starr Reflects On His 35 Year Marriage
George Harrison: Tribute GeorgeFest Is Coming


September 21, 2014

Bob Dylan Is Eminently Worthy Of The Nobel Prize In Literature - Updated



“DON’T criticise what you can’t understand,” sang Bob Dylan in The Times They are A-Changin’
I don’t understand how the Nobel committee awards its literature prize. (No one really does: it is one of those dark Nordic mysteries.) But I will criticise nonetheless.

The Nobel Prize in Literature should be awarded to Bob Dylan. Indeed, it should have been conferred a long time ago, for Dylan is indisputably one of the greatest lyrical poets of the age, a supreme master of language who has reinvented his art with energy and imagination for more than half a century.

The prize will be announced next month. As the Nobel committee does not produce a shortlist, it falls, as usual, to the bookmakers to identify the possible contenders: Haruki Murakami is favourite, with Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Assia Djebar in second place. Philip Roth and Milan Kundera are coming up on the rails. Dylan is in the running, as he has been for a dozen years, a rank outsider.

But as a writer and critic who prophesies with his pen, I predict this might just be the year Dylan gets the gong. Alfred Nobel left instructions that the prize should go to the person who “produced in the field of literature ... the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”. On every count Dylan is a serious contender.

Dylan’s writing cannot be denied the status of literature simply because it is performed. That would remove Homer and Beowulf from the canon. Seamus Heaney (winner in 1995) was an inspired performer of his own poetry. “I consider myself a poet first and a musician second,” wrote Dylan, an assessment shared by the likes of Allen Ginsberg and former Oxford poetry professor Christopher Ricks.

Dylan is steeped in scholarly reference, lightly worn. Of his literary awakening he once said: “It seemed like I’d been pulling an empty wagon for a long time and now I was beginning to fill it up and would have to pull harder.” Into the wagon went Byron, Coleridge, Gogol, Dickens, Brecht and Woody Guthrie. His cascading imagery borrowed from everyone and everywhere, from Rimbaud to Marlon Brando to the Police Gazette.

Those who insist that words can be literature only if written for the page seem quaintly old-fashioned. At a time when traditional formal poetry is in decline, informal oral poetry is booming. This is poetry written for the ear before the eye, returning the voice to verse, and now being consumed and recited in vast quantities by a younger generation. It is called rap.
That Dylan is “outstanding” seems obvious. No singer-writer has exerted more profound influence over the past half-century. At a time when every other 1960s musical celebrity is resting on their laurels or dead, Dylan remains as restless and challenging as ever. No living poet is more acutely aware of his place in literature, more assiduous in curating his work: The Complete Basement Tapes, recorded in 1967, will be released in November, with 30 unbootlegged tracks.

Is Dylan heading in the “ideal direction” for the prize-givers of Stockholm? His genius was to refuse to travel in one direction. Consistently and sometimes infuriatingly inconsistent, he has voyaged through virtually every genre — folk, blues, rock, gospel and country. He calls himself a “musical expeditionary” and keeps on pushing the poetic boat out, a mystery tramp, forever moving on.

Standing squarely (and perhaps insurmountably) between Dylan and the Nobel is his fame. The panel is instinctively wary of celebrity. Some recent recipients are literary giants but all too often the academy takes high-minded refuge in choosing obscure, Eurocentric writers of strictly regional repute. Indeed, the motto of many selections could be “like a complete unknown”: Herta Muller, JMG Le Clezio, Bjornstjerne Bjornson ... stop me when you’ve read one.

It would be quite wrong to insist that a winner have popular global appeal, but equally mistaken to allow fame to disqualify a genuine contender. Some of the greatest literary figures have known huge renown in their lifetimes. Dylan would be vulnerable to the charge of being merely a pop celebrity if he had allowed himself to be led by his fame into repetition; instead, like all great poets, he does not write to please an audience, but to please himself, following his contrary muse.

In his homeland Dylan is appreciated as both poet and pop musician. He is the only rock star in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has always sung pure poetry and the definition of what we understand as great literature is shifting to meet him. But he is 73. The Swedish Academy may not have much time left in which to hail the world’s most significant performing poet, the bard of a cultural revolution.

Being Dylan, of course, he would probably refuse to come to the award ceremony. And artistically, that might be just as well. A Nobel Prize in Literature tends to signal the end of a career. No recipient has ever written better after winning it.

Dylan will keep on writing with or without the ultimate literary accolade, a poet forever young, a moss-free rolling stone.

By Ben Macintyre

With thanks to The Australian

Bob Dylan Named MusiCares Person Of The Year

Bob Dylan has been named MusiCares Person of the Year and will be honoured at an all-star dinner with Neil Young, Willie Nelson and Tom Jones in February.

MusiCares is the branch of the recording academy that provides services for musicians who are suffering financial difficulties.

The award will be presented on Friday, February 6 during a gala that will include reception, silent auction, dinner and a tribute concert with some of the biggest names in music including Beck, the Black Keys, Crosby, Stills & Nash, John Doe, Norah Jones, Tom Jones, Los Lobos, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Eddie Vedder, Jack White and Neil Young. Don Was will be the music director.

Neil Portnow said “In celebrating the 25th anniversary of our MusiCares Person of the Year tribute, it is most fitting that we are honoring Bob Dylan, whose body of creative work has contributed to America’s culture, as well as that of the entire world, in genuinely deep and lasting ways.”

The previous honorees:
1991 – David Crosby
1992 – Bonnie Raitt
1993 – Natalie Cole
1994 – Gloria Estefan
1995 – Tony Bennett
1996 – Quincy Jones
1997 – Phil Collins
1998 – Luciano Pavarotti
1999 – Stevie Wonder
2000 – Elton John
2001 – Paul Simon
2002 – Billy Joel
2003 – Bono
2004 – Sting
2005 – Brian Wilson
2006 – James Taylor
2007 – Don Henley
2008 – Aretha Franklin
2009 – Neil Diamond
2010 – Neil Young
2011 – Barbra Streisand
2012 – Paul McCartney
2013 – Bruce Springsteen
2014 – Carole King

With thanks to Noise 11

Previous winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Looks like Bob Dylan missed out. The prize went to Patrick Modiano.

Some related posts

Bob Dylan: His Website Let's You Direct His First Interactive Music Video

Bob Dylan Turns 73, 8 Fun Facts About Dylan

Arthur Alexander: The Forgotten Songwriter Who Inspired The Beatles, Bob Dylan 

Scribbled Draft Lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” Sells for Record $2 Million

The Strange, but Mostly True, Story of Laurel Canyon: Gram Parsons And Jim Morrison

 Bob Dylan Releases A Night They Called It A Day Video

'American Pie' Lyrics Sell For $1.2 million In New York

Bob Dylan Named Greatest Songwriter Ahead Of Lennon and McCartney According To Rolling Stone  

 Gram Parsons And Rick Nelson: Early Pioneers of 'California Dreaming'

Rick Nelson Validated

Traveling Wilburys To Travel Into New Territory - Streaming

Bob Dylan Wins The Nobel Prize In Literature

Argyle Diamond Jewellery Collection Tells A Dreamtime Story



AUSTRALIA’S breathtaking landscape, rich Aboriginal culture and the deep red colours of its earth all form the diamond story being sold to China’s emerging middle class in a jewellery collection created with gems from Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine. 
The Chow Tai Fook Sunshine collection, to be launched in China on Monday, is the fourth creative collaboration Rio has worked on with Chinese giant Chow Tai Fook, and follows the great success of the Australian Colours collection.

Rio Tinto’s managing director of diamonds, Jean-Marc Lieberherr, said the Chow Tai Fook Sunshine collection was a fantastic story centred around Australia’s landscape and built on the different shades of diamonds from the Argyle mine in Western Australia’s Kimberley Region.

“You can feel it is all based on the colours of the sunshine of Australia — you can feel the heat through the whole thing. I think it will be a great success,” he told The Weekend Australian in Hong Kong. “All the designs of the jewellery in this new collection are inspired from Aboriginal designs. We are selling what is deepest about Australia: the landscape, the Aboriginal culture. it’s pretty powerful.”

Mr Lieberherr said the diamond industry had been stuck on the “four Cs” — colour, cut, clarity and carat — which was commoditising the product because it was a formula simply to decide value.

“We need to turn that around and really leverage the unique story of the diamonds and make people feel good,” he said.

A new dimension that was introduced to the collection, in stores in October, was to add a “mine of origin” program to the pieces. Customers are given a certificate with the jewellery item that guarantees every single diamond in it is from Argyle.

It’s the first time in the Asian jewellery market that customers are being offered a diamond of known origin.

Kent Wong, managing director of Chow Tai Fook’s jewellery group, said the mine of origin program didn’t just offer customers the confidence they were purchasing a genuine diamond — it also added to the experience of buying into the “whole diamond journey”.

“When the Sunshine collection comes out, I think the ­Chinese customer will be excited with a new collection talking about the diamond journey, because that is an attractive selling point,” he said.

Australian Colours was the first creative collaboration between Rio Tinto Diamonds and Chow Tai Fook and was the latter’s first foray into fashion jewellery. It has proved its most successful collection, selling in more than 1000 of its 2000 stores in China.
The “affordable fashion” jewellery ranges from $350 to $1000.

Mr Wong said his company had shown the jewellery market that diamond demand was not just about a solitaire diamond market, but that there were other markets, such as fashion jewellery for daily use.

“China has changed so fast in recent years and customer demands have changed so fast,” he said.
“Fifty per cent of our customers now are aged between 20 and 40 years.

“ They are young, well educated and they like to try something new, so we created the diamond fashion jewellery program through Australian Colours. We had the different design, the ­Australian story and an affordable price.”

Mr Lieberherr said the Chinese market had followed the trends seen in the US in the 1990s when consumers started buying diamonds for daily wear, not just for special occasions.

He added that the Asian giant’s market growth had been more rapid than that of the US.
“The work we are doing in China, as our underground volumes at Argyle grow to full production by the middle of next year, is what we had been doing in the US in 1990, which has really opened this whole new opportunity of fashion jewellery.”

The diamond boss said what had been fascinating was the speed at which Chinese retailers had embraced the opportunity. Chinese diamond jewellery growth has been about 2½ times faster than its economic growth in the past three years.

Over the next five to 10 years, China is expected to become the second-largest market for diamonds after the US, and to represent almost a third of global demand.

Given the increasing interest from China, it is no surprise that Rio Tinto finished the global roadshow of its annual tender of Argyle’s top pink diamonds in Hong Kong this week.
Argyle produces up to 90 per cent of the world’s annual output of pink diamonds, and yet that is only 0.1 per cent of Argyle’s total volume.

Of that 0.1 per cent, the top 50 or so stones by value and beauty make it to the annual tender, with some stones likely to fetch more than $US2 million ($2.23m).

Mr Lieberherr said the miner was blessed to have the most extraordinary product.
“The pinks are the most extraordinary product on earth — the most concentrated form of worth on earth,” he said.

“The tender is a flagship for the entire Rio Tinto diamonds business. Nothing better than to bring the image bearer of the whole business here (Hong Kong) and to present it to the trade.”

By Sarah-Jane Tasker who travelled to Hong Kong courtesy of Rio Tinto



With thanks to The Australian


Above: The Argyle Siren Diamond - details here.

Some related posts: 
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Elizabeth Taylor Quotes
South Africa's Cullinan Mine Unearths 'Exceptional' 29.6-carat Blue Diamond
Why Diamond Engagement Rings Are A Scam
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The Real Downton Abbey



I have been enjoying this series and am looking forward to the new series.
There is a lot more to it than the not-so glamourous  lives of the staff and  the glamourous lives of the family who live there.

It is very much a look at the social conditions of the time when a huge staff looked after a relatively small family.

This theme has reoccurred in many other historical  movies and television shows in the past.

I especially remember the television series "Upstairs, Downstairs" which showed the wealthy in the city rather than at their country estate.

And as far as movies are concerned I particularly enjoyed and recall "The Admirable Crichton", especially since it was on my literature curriculum at high school.

This 1957 movie was based on a play by Sir James Barrie who also wrote "Peter Pan" among many others. It presents a somewhat different side of this social scene.
Crichton is the the top of the tree in the servant's quarters - the equivalent of Mr Carson, if you will. Both are extremely competent and proud of their work.

The fun begins when Crichton and his employers are shipwrecked, and somehow we see an amazing role-reversal where Crichton 'becomes' the Earl of Grantham's equivalent and takes over. 

When the family and its servants are rescued and returned home safely everything reverts back to normality. After all - back then everyone knew their place in society!

There was little upward mobility.

Understanding the social history behind it all makes "Downton Abbey", and similar shows, far more interesting!


From the You Tube clip above:

"Throughout the nineteenth century and until the First World War domestic service constituted the largest single employment for English women, and the second-largest employment for all English people, male and female. Yet it is a largely unknown occupation. No Royal Commission investigated it or suggested legislative protection of the worker; no outburst of trade union activity called attention to the lot of servants, as it did to that of the building workers, the cotton-spinners and the dock labourers. . . Immured in their basements and attic bedrooms, shut away from private gaze and public conscience, the domestic servants remained mute and forgotten until, in the end, only their growing scarcity aroused interest in "the servant problem."

Picture credit for "Downton Abbey": 925Fresh FM


And here is the 1957 movie, "The Admirable Crichton" starring Kenneth More and Diane Cilento as the "Tweenie". Well worth watching!

‘Downton Abbey’ and History: A Look Back

Complete list of Golden Globe winners here.

Downton Abbey Becomes Downturn Abbey: Secrets Of Series 6 Revealed

Downton Abbey: Ending After Its Sixth Season?
The Real Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey Producers In Talks To Make A 1930s-set Feature-length Movie

Maggie Smith: Michael Coveney’s Biography