30 Seconds To Mars/Rhianna-‘Stay’

 

Hello and hi. It has been a busy, crazy, hectic, fun, gratifying and exhausting week. But guess what? Tomorrow is FRI-YAY! (read: Friday!) Yes. Yes, it is. So, as I prepare for my day tomorrow, this is what I am listening to: 30 Seconds to Mars-covering Rhianna’s ‘Stay.’ I do hope you like it. I really do. It is deliciously beautiful and hauntingly sad in equal measure. Yup.

 

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Jared Leto with short hair

30 Seconds to Mars is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1998, the band consists of Jared Leto (lead vocals, guitar and keyboards) and Shannon Leto (drums, percussion) and Tomo Milicevic (lead guitar, bass, violins, keyboards and other instruments.

Oh…you don’t know who Jared Leto is? Yikes. If you do not know who Jared Leto is, then kindly educate yourself. Please and thanks. Knowledge is power. Now for the song. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Cheers

The Perseus and Andromeda Fountain, Witley Court, Worcestershire

 

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Hello and hi. No BREXIT post today. You are of course, welcome.  Allow me to wax lyrical about another topic. Please and thanks. So, this happened…

Yesterday The Perseus and Andromeda Fountain at Witley Court got a bit of a spring clean. In other words, water was applied and the fountain was restored to its pristine beauty. Yes. Yes, it was. How amazing is this fountain? Pretty amazing if you ask me.

Background

Witley Court in Worcestershire, England is a ruined Italiante mansion (the Italianate style of architecture was a distinct 19th century phase in the history of Classical architecture. Classical architecture is derived from the principles of Greek and Roman architecture of classical antiquity. Got it? Do keep up. Kidding).

Built for the Foleys in the 17th century on the site of a former manor house, it was expanded in the early 19th century by the architect John Nash. It was then subsequently sold to the Earls of Dudley. A second massive reconstruction by the architect Samuel Drakes took place in the mid 19th century, creating one of the great please palaces of Victorian and Edwardian England.

The declining fortune of the Dudleys (hey, it happens) saw the sale of the court after WWI to Kidderminster carpet manufacturer. In 1927 a major fire caused extensive damage to the court-the estate was broken up and sold and the house was stripped of its fittings and furnishings. Forty years of decay followed before the house and grounds were taken into care of Historic England in 1972 (officially known as: The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England-it is know known as English Heritage.)

Since 1972, significant restoration and stabilisation have secured the house as a spectacular ruin. Woot woot. Respect.

 

 

Gardens and Fountains

Two immense fountains thankfully survived the fire of 1927 at Witley Court. Both fountains were designed by Nefield and executed by James and William Forsyth. The largest of the two was the Perseus and Andromeda Fountain, and has been restored to working order by English Heritage (as previously mentioned and is essentially the crux of this post).

Witley Court, circa 1900 (before the fire)

 

While I have not personally seen this fountain nor Witley Court, the images are pretty breathtaking. And of course, a massive debt of gratitude goes out to English Heritage for restoring it, as well as giving it an annual spring clean, allowing all of us to appreciate this lovely fountain. So, English Heritage…if you are reading this: Thanks!

One last thing…Perseus and Andromeda? Just a brief recap. Please know that this is not a University seminar in Greek mythology-this is only a blog post, people. Anyway, the story of Perseus and Andromeda derives from Greek mythology and contains very deep wisdom of the interactions of male and female energy. Perseus is one of the GREATEST heroes of Greek Mythology-he was the son of Zeus and mortal Danae. He is best known as the slayer of the Gorgon Medusa. Further, he is known as the rescuer of the Ethiopian princess, Andromeda. Perseus is also said to be an ancestor of Hercules. In brief, he was a brave and mighty warrior, a good son and an honourable king. Respect.

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Related image

In closing, and as previously mentioned-the fountain has had a bit of a spring clean. Isn’t she lovely? Cue Stevie Wonder. Oh and thanks for reading-this was a long post. Thanks for hanging in there. Respect.

Cheers

Article 50 Triggered (and a few people had something to say about it)

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Well, well, well. Look what happened this week… Unless you are a Buddhist monk on an isolated hillside, meditating, while gently clutching your prayer beads-then you must know by now that Article 50 was officially triggered this week by our Prime Minister, Theresa May. Brexit has begun. Or rather, the process of Brexiting has commenced. Please know that the said process will be a long one. An exhaustive one. A terribly complicated one. You ready? You better be. I know, I am. Here we go. Let the games begin.

This week, our Theresa, formally launched Brexit. Please tell me that you are familiar with Brexit, or we simply cannot be friends. Sorry, not sorry. Anyhoo-Britain has officially launched the Brexit process in triggering Article 50. This simply means that Britain will now start a 2 year count down until before Britain drops out of the EU. Later, Brussels…it has been real….it has been fun but it has not been real fun. We are done. We are so done as we cast off the manacles of the EU. We ready. And besides, the people voted in the referendum which subsequently caused this. I hope our former Prime Minister, David Cameron is happy-he never should have even mentioned it. But he did. And now we are all miserable to be leaving (most of us) and our Cameron is quite pleased with himself. But history, will only remember him for this. And to me, that is quite sad. But, I digress.

Now for some quotes re Brexit:

  • Prime Minster Theresa May said:

“This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back – Britain is leaving the European Union – we’re going to make our own decisions and our own laws, we’re going to take control of the things that matter most to us…and we’re going to take this opportunity to build a stronger and fairer Britain that our children and grandchildren are proud to call home.”

Well, now you would expect her to say that. Funny, coming from her as she was in the ‘Remain’ camp and adhered to the Party line which said that Britain would be better off remaining in the EU-but of course that was before she became Prime Minister . Oh, you didn’t know we had a General Election? We did not. When David Cameron resigned approximately 2 min after the referendum results (which indicated that the people of the UK wanted to leave the EU), she became the new Prime Minister. No one even cast a vote. Ain’t democracy grand?

  • Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn said:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party respected the decision of the British people to leave the EU.

“Today we embark on the country’s most important negotiations in modern times.

“The next steps along this journey are the most crucial, and if the prime minister is to unite this country, as she says she aims to do, the government needs to listen, consult and represent the whole country, not just the hard-line Tory ideologues on her own benches.”

Uggh. I can’t even with this guy. Seriously, Jeremy Corbyn is completely and utterly shambolic. As leader of the Shadow government-he is diabolical and disastrous in equal measure. And I am being nice. Oh, please know-that I am not alone in thinking this.  To be fair, he has made a fair comment. But honestly, Jeremy…we already knew this stuff. So, stop with the sound bites and go on and unite  your Party. You have been told. That is all.

 

 

  • German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said:

“We Germany, but also Britain’s other partners in the EU, certainly didn’t want this day to come because we’re losing a strong and important member state. But naturally we accept the democratic decision of the British voters, and with the triggering of Article 50 we now have greater clarity about how the British side envisages the way ahead and which goals Britain wants to pursue in the negotiations.”

Thanks for saying that Angela. You speak sense. I would rather listen to you wax lyrical on Brexit than Jeremy Corbyn. Truth.

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Angela Merkel

                                                                                                           Image: The Daily Express

  • Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted:

“Today, the PM will take the UK over a cliff with no idea of the landing place. Scotland didn’t vote for it and our voice has been ignored.”

Calm down, dear. That is all.

 

  • European Council President Donald Tusk said:

“There is nothing to win in this process – and I am talking about both sides. In essence, this is about damage control.

“We already miss you. Thank you and goodbye.”

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Donald Tus

                                                                                                                   Image: The Telegraph

Hmm…how very diplomatic of Donald Tusk. Diplomatic, yet tinged with slight undertones of arrogance. Me no like. Sorry, Donald-your precious EU is breaking up and there is nothing you can do about it. Ever. Peace out.

  • Gina Miller said: (the businesswoman who brought the landmark legal challenge to get Parliament to vote on whether the UK could commence the process of leaving the EU. Home-girl, took it all the way to the UK Supreme Court)

“There seems to be very little understanding of the reality of what’s going to face us in these negotiations.

“It seems to be ‘Mrs May’s way or no way’ – that closed stance is not best for the whole of Britain”.

Oh Gina, Gina, Gina…stop talking. You have done enough harm. For real. Besides, we are quite aware that post Brexit means uncertainty for Britain. Duh.

So, that’s it. People from various political parties reacted to the triggering of Article 50. Of course, there were more reactions, admonishments and warnings and you can read them here. Knowledge is power. That is all.

 

Cheers

May and Sturgeon to meet

 

 

Hello and hi. Another BREXIT post. Woot woot . Oh, believe me, you-I got plenty more BREXIT posts up my American sleeve. You can thank me later. For now, let’s do this. So, this happened…

Theresa May will meet Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland later for the FIRST time since the SNP (Scottish National Party) announced their proposals for a second independence referendum, according to the BBC.  May and Sturgeon are both formidable politicians. At least everyone can agree on that-but Sturgeon wants another referendum-in brief, she wants Scotland to be independent. What the what? Scotland to leave and break up our happy family? No. Just, no. Scotland needs to remain within the UK.  Nicola Sturgeon and her people/SNP want Scotland to vote on this issue and subsequently leave the UK.

Dear people of Scotland: we are stronger together. There is no point in leaving-and besides you had a referendum on this issue not too long ago-you don’t get to vote again on the same issue. No. No, you do not. Remember now Scotland…you answer to Westminster. Don’t get mad now, you know what I am saying is true and the truth hurts. Just stay, already. Please and thanks

As mentioned earlier, May and Sturgeon will meet for the first time since the SNP announced their proposals for a second referendum. That should be a fun meeting between those two. No doubt there will be terse, yet, polite exchange of diplomatic words. Afterwards, there will probably be a light lunch and some mildly alcoholic beverages, Scottish whiskey even, but the meeting between May and Sturgeon will not include a joint mani-pedi (manicure and pedicure session) because these 2 women can’t hardly stand each other-especially now that Sturgeon wants a 2nd referendum and May is all: ‘Hell to the no, Sturgy!’ I don’t think our PM speaks in this way, but I can assure you the sentiment is the same. Yup.

You see, on Wednesday, our PM will trigger Article 50 (finally) and she has stated that she wants to “build a more united nation” and if Scotland goes rogue/leaves the UK, that will kind of upset the Brexit apple cart. Theresa May has said that “now is not the time” for a Scottish independence referendum, as the Brexit process is about to commence. So, Sturgeon needs to calm it down a bit because Scotland is not going anywhere before or after Brexit. I think you know this, Nicola Sturgeon-please tell me you do.

Image result for images of nicola sturgeon and theresa may                                                                                                                                                    Image: Daily Mail

 

The PM has travelled to Scotland the day before the Scottish Parliament is expected to pass a vote in favour of seeking a new Scottish independence referendum (which Sturgeon wants to hold in Autumn 2018 or Spring 2019). Sturgeon has said that a second referendum should be held ahead of the UK’s EU departure to give the people of Scotland a choice between what she calls a ‘hard Brexit’ and becoming an independent country. Erm…nope. That is simply not going to happen-how dare Sturgeon try to mess up this Brexit process?!I mean, just look how long it has taken us to get to this point. For real. But May has warned that a second referendum will make the UK “looser and weaker.”

In addition, according to Downing Street, the upcoming talks between May and Sturgeon are for issues surrounding the triggering of Article 50 and NOT for the possibility of a second independence referendum. Sheesh-I hope Sturgeon knows this. I mean, even I know this. Yup. But some Scottish government sources have said the talks cannot just focus on Brexit. Uggh… Yes.they. can. Those unnamed Scottish government sources need to behave and stop saying untrue and misleading things. Honestly.

In closing, like I said-our May, and Scotland’s Sturgeon are due to meet and have a nice chat about Brexit along with a nice cup of Assam tea followed by some Scottish whiskey. Whether or not they will touch upon the proposed upcoming referendum in Scotland-who really knows? But watch this space for updates. That is all.

 

Cheers

 

 

Meet Stormzy

Image result for images of stormzy                                                                                                                                     Image: Astral people

 

Meet Stormzy. He seems nice. Michael Omari was born 26 July 1993 and is better known by his stage name, Stormzy. Stormzy is an English grime* and hip hop artist. Stormzy won Best Grime Act at the 2014 MOBO Awards and was named by the BBC as the artist to look out for in the BBC’s Sound of 2015 list. Respect. Stormzy’s most successful song to date is the gold-selling “Shut Up”-which was initially released as a freestyle on YouTube. Later the track was officially released and reached number 8 on the UK Singles Chart after Stormzy launched a campaign to reach Christmas number one.

Stormzy’s debut album, Gang Signs & Prayer was released on 24 February 2017 and was the FIRST grime album to reach number 1 on the UK Albums Chart. Wow. Just wow. How awesome is that? Pretty awesome, if you ask me.

 

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Stormzy

                                                                                                                                                             Image: Dazed

 

Early Life

Stormzy  hails from Thornton Heath, London and attended Harris Academy South Norwood. He began rapping at age 11 and would often clash with older rappers at his local youth club. In school, he was excluded several times in Year 8 and was expelled in sixth form. Sorry people-Year 11 and sixth form is like Greek to me-the English school system is confusing to this American blogger. So, do ask someone elsewhat Year 11 and sixth form are-along with what the corresponding ages are. And when you find out…do let me know. Please and thanks. But, I digress…

Anyway, back to Stormzy…so, before he began to focus on his music full-time, he studied for an apprenticeship in Leamington Spa and worked in quality assurance for 2 years in an oil refinery in Southampton.

Music Career/2014-15

Post garnering attention on the UK underground music scene via his Wicked Skengman series of freestyles over classic grime beats, Stormzy released his debut EP Dreamer’s Disease independently in July 2014. Then in October, Stormzy won Best Grime Act of the MOBO (Music of Black Origin) awards. Later, that month our Stormzy became the FIRST unsigned rapper to appear on Later with Jools Holland where he performed the song “Not that deep” from Dreamers Disease. Wow. What an incredible achievement to appear on Later with Jools Holland. Massive respect.

In January 2015, Stormzy came number 3 in the BBC Introducing… top 5 on Radio 1. IN March 2015, Stormzy released a final instalment to his ‘WickedSkengMan’ freestyle series-it later appeared with ‘Shut Up’ on iTunes and ‘Shut Up’ became Stormzy’s FIRST top 40 hit and FIRST ever freestyle to reach the top 40 in the United Kingdom. If you are not yet impressed by Stormzy’s musical achievements then it is entirely possible that we cannot be friends…just sayin.’

2016-present: Gang Signs & Prayer

In April 2016, Stormzy dropped the non-album song “Scary” before he went into hiatus. Then after a year’s hiatus from social media (something we should all consider doing) Stormzy returned in early February 2017 via a series of billboard campaigns across London displaying the hashtag #GSAP 24.02. The album title was announced to be: Gang Signs & Prayer. The album was released on 24 February 2017 and debuted as number 1 on the UK Albums Chart on 3 March.

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So, there you g0…some background about our Stormzy. In short, he is a BOSS and his career is going from strength to strength. Yay for him. Ok am done writing-so have a listen to him now in ‘Big for your boots’. This type of music is not for everyone-but I hope you like it. If not, just know this…we still cool. Yup.

 

 

Cheers

 

 

*Grime is a genre of music that emerged in East London in the early 2000’s. It actually developed out of earlier UK electronic music styles (UK garage, jungle and draws influence from Jamaica dancehall, reggae and hip hop). The style is often a composition of rapid, syncopated backbeats-and will often feature an aggressive electronic sound. Further, rapping is also a significant element of the style and lyrics will often revolve around the depictions of urban life.

Shape of You/Ed Sheeran Ft Stormzy

 

Hello and hi. Happy Monday. If you know me at all (and I hope you do)-you probably know that I have mad love for Ed Sheeran. Yes. Yes, I do. Recently, our Ed performed ‘Shape of You’ at the Brit Awards with Stormzy. Stormzy? Stormzy is an English hip hop and grime artist. Ahh, I will blog on him later. That guy is the real deal. Perhaps you don’t much like hip hop and grime-and that is ok-but at least listen to him, before you dismiss him and his music. Like I said, that Stormzy is the real deal. He sure is. Now, for the video…enjoy.

 

 

Cheers

Martin McGuinness/Obituary

Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill, Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams carry Martin McGuinness's coffin

 

Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s former deputy first minister died on Tuesday. He was revered and loathed in equal measure. Some say he was a freedom fighter while some say he was a terrorist. Me? I have my own thoughts and opinions about McGuinness, but I will keep that to myself. Thank you for understanding. Instead, I will let you make up your own mind about McGuinness-and you can do that by reading his obituary here. Knowledge is power. That is all.

Cheers

 

Happy Mother’s Day, Mum! (Mothering Sunday)

 

Happy Mother’s Day! It is Mother’s Day here in the UK today. Am not sure when it is back home in the US (April? May? Help me out here people…I kind of need to know). As you know, Mother’s Day is a celebration honouring the mother of the family-as well as motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society. So really, every day should be ‘Mother’s Day.’ Am I right? I think I am.

 

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In countries around the world, this day or holiday has different meanings and is associated with different events-whether they be religious, historical or legendary-and as a result, this day is celebrated on different dates. The extent of the celebration of this day varies greatly, as mentioned. In some countries it is actually (potentially) offensive to one’s mother NOT to mark Mother’s Day. Yikes. In others, it is a little-known festival celebrated mainly by immigrants or covered by the media as a taste of foreign culture. Truth.

In the Roman Catholic Church, this day is strongly associated with revering the Virgin Mary. Some Catholic homes will have a special shrine devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Also, in many Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, a special prayer service is held in honour of the Theotokos Virgin Mary. Theotokos is a title of Mary, mother of Jesus-used especially in Eastern Christianity.

 

 

In Islam, there is no concept of Mother’s Day, but mothers hold a high position in religious matters. According to some Islamic traditions, Heaven is said to be found under a mother’s feet, meaning that one can attain admission into heaven after death, if they are caring and loving sons to their mothers. Indeed. Please read that sentence again.

In Hindu tradition, Mother’s Day is called “Mata Tirtha Aunshi” or “Mother Pilgrimage fortnight”, and is celebrated in countries with a Hindu population, especially in Nepal.In Buddhism, the festival of Ullambana is derived from the story of Maudgalyayana and his mother.

Of course there are more religious traditions out there which I have ignored-sorry about that. Please know that this is just a blog post, not a religious seminar focussing on Mother’s Day. But, am guessing you already knew that. Please tell me you did.

 

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Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there…and to my own Mother, Mother-in-law and my Aunties too. Respect. That is all.

Cheers

 

 

BREXIT Timeline (you are welcome)

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Hello and hi. Well now, look what I have…I have a BREXIT timeline for you. How great is that? Pretty great I think. Our Theresa May has kindly informed the European Council that she will trigger Article 50 on Wednesday 29 March.  It is finally happening. Woot woot! We are Brexit-ing…0f course it will be a long and protracted affair and will last 2 years (possibly more). But at least now, we have a date. Please read that sentence again.

May I also remind you, dear reader, that: ‘Brexit means Brexit’…Yes. Yes, it does. Brexit does not mean: ‘fish and chips’ or ‘egg and chips’ or ‘yellow and blue make green.’ It simply means that Brexit means Brexit. Like we didn’t already know that. Honestly.  Anyway, that being said…here is the timeline of what is going to happen now. You are welcome. Ok, lets do this. Let us get on with the getting on…

Timeline of BREXIT.

(Potentially. Hopefully. Please God, make this be true and accurate….)

  • 29 March, 2017 – UK triggers Article 50
  • April – European Council president Donald Tusk expected to call an EU summit of the 27 leaders (without the UK) to agree to give the European Commission a mandate to negotiate with the UK
  • After the EU 27 summit – European Commission to publish negotiating guidelines based on the mandate the EU leaders give it. The EU might say something about possible parallel negotiation on a future EU-UK trade deal
  • April/May 2017 – Negotiations begin
  • 23 April and 7 May – French Presidential elections
  • 24 September – German parliamentary elections
  • Autumn 2017 – The UK government is expected to introduce legislation to leave the EU and put all existing EU laws into British law – the Great Repeal bill
  • October 2018 – Negotiations conclude (The Article 50 negotiations could be extended, but this is subject to the approval of the other 27 EU member states)
  • Between October 2018 and March 2019 – The Houses of Parliament, European Council and European Parliament vote on any deal
  • March 2019 – UK formally withdraws from the European Union

(source: BBC News)

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Cheers