Saturday 31 December 2011

Friday 30 December 2011

Cheetah RIP... again?

Claims of Cheetah the Chimpanzee's Death Are Questioned

Associated Press
PALM HARBOR, Fla.—A Florida animal sanctuary said Cheetah, the chimpanzee sidekick in the Tarzan movies of the early 1930s, has died at 80. But other accounts call that claim into question.

Debbie Cobb, outreach director at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, said Wednesday that her grandparents acquired Cheetah around 1960 from "Tarzan" star Johnny Weissmuller and that the chimp appeared in Tarzan films between 1932 and 1934. During that period, Weissmuller made "Tarzan the Ape Man" and "Tarzan and His Mate."

But Ms. Cobb offered no documentation, saying it was destroyed in a 1995 fire.

Also, some Hollywood accounts indicate a chimpanzee by the name of Jiggs or Mr. Jiggs played Cheetah alongside Mr. Weissmuller early on and died in 1938.

In addition, an 80-year-old chimpanzee would be extraordinarily old, perhaps the oldest ever known. According to many experts and Save the Chimps, another Florida sanctuary, chimpanzees in captivity generally live to between 40 and 60, though Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, Fla., says it has one that is around 73.

A similar claim about another chimpanzee that supposedly played second banana to Mr. Weissmuller was debunked in 2008 in a Washington Post story.

Writer R.D. Rosen discovered that the primate, which lived in Palm Springs, Calif., was born around 1960, meaning it wasn't oldest enough to have been in the Tarzan movies of Hollywood's Golden Age that starred Olympic swimming star Weissmuller as the vine-swinging, loincloth-wearing Ape Man and Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane.

While a number of chimpanzees played the sidekick role in the Tarzan movies of the 1930s and '40s, Mr. Rosen said in an email Wednesday that this latest purported Cheetah looks like a "business-boosting impostor as well."

"I'm afraid any chimp who actually shared a soundstage with Weissmuller and O'Sullivan is long gone," Mr. Rosen said.

Ms. Cobb said Cheetah died Dec. 24 of kidney failure and was cremated.

"Unfortunately, there was a fire in '95 in which a lot of that documentation burned up," Ms. Cobb said. "I'm 51 and I've known him for 51 years. My first remembrance of him coming here was when I was actually 5, and I've known him since then, and he was a full-grown chimp then."

Film historian and Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osbourne said the Cheetah character "was one of the things people loved about the Tarzan movies because he made people laugh. He was always a regular fun part of the movies."

In his time, the Cheetah character was as popular as Rin Tin Tin or Asta, the dog from the "Thin Man" movies, Mr. Osbourne said.

"He was a major star," he said.

Thursday 29 December 2011

Last night's set list

At The Habit, York: -

On The Way Home
There Stands The Glass
I Don't Want To talk About It
Harvest Moon

A wonderful evening of musical fun. And Da was top of the bill!

P.S. Rumours about me and Sinead O'Connor have been fabricated by the Tory press.

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Monday 26 December 2011

Sunday 25 December 2011

Saturday 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas from the FNB!

The FNB at their 2011 Christmas gathering. Missing is our regular 'lensmith' Paul 'Richard Avedon' Kelly, who, working without a net as usual, was perched perilously on a chair to capture the essence of the occasion.

Last night's set list

At the Fulford Arms, York: -

Heart Of Gold
Long Time Gone
Mellow My Mind
Roll Another Number (For The Road)
Out On The Weekend

An enjoyable open mic night with an amazing variety of music.

And a Happy Christmas viewers (as Benny Hill would have said).

Friday 23 December 2011

The Great Loudo - Newt Gingrich is Running For Pres

Loudon Wainwright sings 'Newt Gingrich Is Running For Pres

Randy Lewis
December 20, 2011

Singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III has tossed off numerous topical ditties over his 40-year career on subjects including war, O.J. Simpson, Christmas, Olympic figure-skating anti-heroine Tonya Harding and millennial panic, among others, so it’s no surprise he’s come up with one pegged to the 2012 presidential campaign.

He’s posted the song and accompanying video for “Newt Gingrich is Running For Pres” on YouTube, a cheerfully barbed number set to the tune of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

A writer who often has used sharp-edged satire in his music, Wainwright sings:

He’s no longer naughty
Newt’s gonna make nice
Newt didn’t lobby
Just got paid for advice
Newt Gingrich is running for Pres

In previous interviews Wainwright has said he enjoys the challenge of crafting songs linked to a moment, a practice more common early in the 20th century than in recent times. He sees them as analagous to news dispatches sent from the front — something that may be lodged in his DNA as the son of longtime Life magazine columnist Loudon Wainwright II.

Several of his earlier topical and political tunes are collected on two albums, “Social Studies” from 1999 and last year’s “10 Songs for the New Depression.” Many are also sprinkled across the '40 Odd Years' box set released earlier this year.

Thursday 22 December 2011

New Macca tune

The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons

Avalanche in the Grisons!
JMW Turner paints up a stormContinuing his December-long series of favourite wintry artworks, Jonathan Jones is blown over by the sublime force of JMW Turner's Swiss snowslide – The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons

Jonathan Jones
Thursday 15 December 2011

The overwhelming power of nature crushes trees and smashes rocks in Turner’s wintry vision of disaster. In the Romantic era when this was painted, artists and poets alike succumbed to the ‘sublime’, the fascination of what scares us. The huge weight of Alpine mountain snow that plummets downwards in this avalanche is sublime; it thrills us with terror. But somehow that seems an inadequate description of this painting’s force. It is a great painting because Turner observes, with almost scientific precision, the way the snow shifts – its mass, acceleration and impact.