• Before posting an article from a specific source, check this list here to see how much the Orange Room trust it. You can also vote/change your vote based on the source track record.

Entertainment News



Active Member
Castaway tells tale of 16-month Pacific survival to rival Life of Pi

When two islanders spotted a small fibreglass boat washed up on a remote Pacific atoll, they decided to take a closer look. What they found inside was a tale of adventure and unlikely survival to rival the blockbuster book and film Life of Pi: an emaciated man with long hair and a beard, who claimed to have been drifting for 16 months after setting out from Mexico, more than 8,000 miles (12,500km) away.

The man, dressed only in a ragged pair of underpants, told his rescuers on Thursday that he had been adrift in the 7.3-metre (24ft) fibreglass boat, whose engines were missing their propellers, since he left Mexico for El Salvador in September 2012. A companion had died at sea several months ago, he said.

"His condition isn't good, but he's getting better," said Ola Fjeldstad, a Norwegian anthropology student doing research on the isolated Ebon atoll, part of the Marshall Islands archipelago.

The man had said his name was José Ivan and he had indicated that he survived by catching turtles and birds with his bare hands, but because he spoke only Spanish, further details were sketchy. There was no fishing equipment on the boat, but a turtle was inside when it washed up.

"The boat is really scratched up and looks like it has been in the water for a long time," Fjeldstad told reporters for Agence France-Presse by telephone.

According to the researcher, the islanders who found the man took him to the main island in the atoll – which is so remote it has only one phone line and no internet – to meet the mayor, Ione de Brum, who contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Majuro, the Marshall Islands capital.

Officials at the ministry said on Friday that they were awaiting more details and expected the man to be taken to the capital.

The government airline's only plane that can land at Ebon is currently undergoing maintenance and is not expected to return to service until Tuesday at the earliest. Officials are considering sending a boat to pick up the castaway.

"He's staying at the local council house and a family is feeding him," said Fjeldstad, who added that the man had a basic health check and was found to have low blood pressure, but did not appear to have any life-threatening conditions and was able to walk with the aid of men on the island. "We've been giving him a lot of water, and he's gaining strength."

Fraser Christian, who teaches maritime survival courses at his Coastal Survival school in Dorset, said the man's story, if true, would be remarkable but far from unique. It was entirely possible to catch turtles or small fish by hand, he said, since "they are inquisitive, and they will approach a small boat to shelter underneath it".

Christian advises clients who find themselves forced to eat turtles to start with their eyes – "lots of fluid" – then move on to the blood.

The major problems the man would have faced were exposure and dehydration. "The basic rule is, no water, no food. You need water to digest protein. If you have no fresh water and it doesn't rain for a few days, so you can't collect rainwater, you have basically had it."

Individual physiology also played a part, he said, with some people better suited to survival than others, but "the mental thing is key, and that's often down to people's situation in life and how used they are to dealing mentally with hardship".

Stories of survival in the vast Pacific Ocean are not uncommon. In 2006, three Mexicans made international headlines when they were discovered drifting, also in a small fibreglass boat near the Marshall Islands. They claimed to have survived for nine months at sea on a diet of rainwater, raw fish and seabirds, with their hope kept alive by reading the Bible.

But Cliff Downing, who teaches sea survival to sailors, said he was sceptical about the latest tale. "It just doesn't sound right to me. There are 1,001 hazards that would make his survival for so long very unlikely. One would want to know a lot more."

source Guardian
  • Advertisement
  • EuroMode


    Active Member
    Lights, Camera… Covert Action: The Deep Politics of Hollywood

    Here we build a prima facae case supporting the idea that Hollywood continues to be a target for infiltration and subversion by a variety of state agencies, in particular the CIA. Academic debates on cinematic propaganda are almost entirely retrospective, and whilst a number of commentators have drawn attention to Hollywood’s longstanding and open relationship with the Pentagon, little of substance has been written about the more clandestine influences working through Hollywood in the post-9/11 world. As such, our work delves into the field of what Peter Dale Scott calls “deep politics”; namely, activities which cannot currently be fully understood due to the covert influence of shadowy power players.

    The Latest Picture

    A variety of state agencies have liaison offices in Hollywood today, from the FBI, to NASA and the Secret Service. Few of these agencies, though, have much to offer in exchange for favourable storylines, and so their influence in Hollywood is minimal. The major exception here is the Department of Defense, which has an ‘open’ but barely publicized relationship with Tinsel Town, whereby, in exchange for advice, men and invaluable equipment, such as aircraft carriers and helicopters, the Pentagon routinely demands flattering script alterations. Examples of this policy include changing the true identity of a heroic military character in Black Hawk Down (2001) due to his real-life status as a child rapist; the removal of a joke about “losing Vietnam” from the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and cutting images of Marines taking gold teeth from dead Japanese soldiers in Windtalkers (2002). Instances such as these are innumerable, and the Pentagon has granted its coveted “full cooperation” to a long list of contemporary pictures including Top Gun (1986), True Lies (1994), Executive Decision (1996), Air Force One (1997), The Sum of All Fears (2002), Transformers (2007), Iron Man (2008), as well as TV series such as JAG (1995-2005).

    Such government activity, whilst morally dubious and barely advertised, has at least occurred within the public domain. This much cannot be said of the CIA’s dealings with Hollywood, which, until recently, went largely unacknowledged by the Agency. In 1996, the CIA announced with little fanfare the dry remit of its newly established Media Liaison Office, headed by veteran operative Chase Brandon. As part of its new stance, the CIA would now openly collaborate on Hollywood productions, supposedly in a strictly ‘advisory’ capacity.

    The Agency’s decision to work publicly with Hollywood was preceded by the 1991 “Task Force Report on Greater CIA Openness,” compiled by CIA Director Robert Gates’ newly appointed ‘Openness Task Force,’ which secretly debated –ironically– whether the Agency should be less secretive. The report acknowledges that the CIA “now has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and television network in the nation,” and the authors of the report note that this helped them “turn some ‘intelligence failure’ stories into ‘intelligence success’ stories, and has contributed to the accuracy of countless others.” It goes on to reveal that the CIA has in the past “persuaded reporters to postpone, change, hold, or even scrap stories that could have adversely affected national security interests…”

    These admissions add weight to several reports and Congressional hearings from the 1970s which indicated that the CIA once maintained a deep-rooted and covert presence in national and international media, informally dubbed “Operation Mockingbird.” In its 1991 report, the CIA acknowledged that it had, in fact, “reviewed some film scripts about the Agency, documentary and fictional, at the request of filmmakers seeking guidance on accuracy and authenticity.” But the report is at pains to state that, although the CIA has “facilitated the filming of a few scenes on Agency premises,” it does “not seek to play a role in filmmaking ventures.” But it seems highly implausible that the CIA, whilst maintaining a decades-long presence in media and academia, would have shown no interest in the hugely influential Cinema industry.

    Indeed, it should come as no surprise that the CIA has been involved in a number of recent blockbusters and TV series. The 2001 CBS TV series, The Agency, executive produced by Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, Air Force One) was actually co-written by ex-CIA agent and Marine Bazzel Baz, with additional ex-CIA agents working as consultants. The CIA gladly opened its doors to the production, and facilitated both external and internal shots of its Langley headquarters as the camera gazed lovingly at the CIA seal. This arrangement was comparable to the Feds’ efforts on the popular TV series The FBI (1965-74) which was shaped by the Bureau in cooperation with ABC and which thanked J. Edgar Hoover in the credits of each episode. Similarly, The Agency glorified the actions of US spooks as they fought predictable villains including the Russian military, Arab and German terrorists, Columbian drug dealers, and Iraqis. One episode even shows the CIA saving the life of Fidel Castro; ironically, since the CIA in real life had made repeated attempts to assassinate the Cuban President. Promos for the show traded on 9/11, which had occurred just prior to its premiere, with tag lines like “Now, more than ever, we need the CIA.”

    A TV movie, In the Company of Spies (1999) starring Tom Berenger depicted a retired CIA operative returning to duty to save captured Agency officers held by North Korea. The CIA was so enthusiastic about this product that it hosted its presentation, cooperated during production, facilitated filming at Langley, and provided fifty off-duty officers as extras, according to its website.

    Espionage novelist Tom Clancy has enjoyed an especially close relationship with the CIA. In 1984, Clancy was invited to Langley after writing The Hunt for Red October, which was later turned into the 1990 film. The Agency invited him again when he was working on Patriot Games (1992), and the movie adaptation was, in turn, granted access to Langley facilities. More recently, The Sum of All Fears (2002) depicted the CIA as tracking down terrorists who detonate a nuclear weapon on US soil. For this production, CIA director George Tenet gave the filmmakers a personal tour of the Langley HQ; the film’s star, Ben Affleck also consulted with Agency analysts, and Chase Brandon served as on-set advisor.

    Media sources indicate that the CIA also worked on the Anthony Hopkins/Chris Rock feature Bad Company (2002) and the Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster Enemy of the State (2001). However, no details whatsoever about these appear to be in the public domain. Similarly, Spy Game director Tony Scott’s DVD commentary for said film indicates that he visited Langley whilst in pre-production but, according to one report, endorsement appeared to have been withheld after Chase Brandon read the final draft of the script.

    More details than usual emerged about CIA involvement in the Tom Hanks movie Charlie Wilsons War (2007) and Robert De Niro’s The Good Shepherd (2006) – but not many. Milt Bearden had traveled to the Moscow Film Festival with De Niro and claims the pair then “disappeared and hung out with the mob and KGB crowd for a while. I introduced him to generals and colonels, the old guys I had been locked with for so many years.” De Niro later tagged along with Beardon to Pakistan. “We wandered around the North-West Frontier Province,” Bearden recalls, “crossed the bridge [to Afghanistan] I built years ago, hung out with a bunch of guys firing off machine guns and drinking tea.” Still, The Good Shepherd didn’t fulfill the CIA’s earnest hopes of being the CIA equivalent of Flags of Our Fathers (2006), which the Agency’s official historian says it should have been – all in the interests of what he calls a “culture of truth.”

    Charlie Wilson’s War depicted the United States’ covert efforts to supply arms to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union in the 1980s which had the real-life consequence of America’s old ally turned against it in the form of al-Qaeda (as Crile explains in the book of the film). However, Beardon, who was the CIA agent who supplied the weapons, worked as consultant on the film and said prior to its release that it “will put aside the notion that because we did that, we had 9/11.” CIA involvement in the film therefore appears to have paid dividends.

    The real reasons for the CIA adopting an “advisory” role on all of these productions are thrown into sharp relief by a solitary comment from former Associate General Counsel to the CIA, Paul Kelbaugh. In 2007, whilst at a College in Virginia, Kelbaugh delivered a lecture on the CIA’s relationship with Hollywood, at which a local journalist was present. The journalist (who now wishes to remain anonymous) wrote a review of the lecture which related Kelbaugh’s discussion of the 2003 thriller The Recruit, starring Al Pacino. The review noted that, according to Kelbaugh, a CIA agent was on set for the duration of the shoot under the guise of a consultant, but that his real job was to misdirect the filmmakers: “We didn’t want Hollywood getting too close to the truth,” the journalist quoted Kelbaugh as saying.

    Peculiarly, in a strongly-worded email to the authors, Kelbaugh emphatically denied having made the public statement and claimed that he remembered “very specific discussions with senior [CIA] management that no one was ever to misrepresent to affect [film] content – EVER.” The journalist considers Kelbaugh’s denial “weird,” and told us that “after the story came out, he [Kelbaugh] emailed me and loved it… I think maybe it’s just that because [the lecture] was ‘just in Lynchburg’ he was okay with it – you know, like, no one in Lynchburg is really going to pay much attention to it, I guess. Maybe that’s why he said it, and maybe that’s why he’s denying it now.” The journalist stands by the original report, and Kelbaugh has pointedly refused to engage us in further discussion on the matter.

    Early Screening

    Clandestine agencies have a long history of interference in the cinema industry. Letters discovered in the Eisenhower Presidential Library from the secret agent Luigi G. Luraschi (identified by British academic John Eldridge), the Paramount executive who worked for the CIA’s Psychological Strategy Board (PSB), reveal just how far the CIA was able to reach into the film industry in the early days of the Cold War, despite its claims that it sought no such influence.

    For instance, Luraschi reported that he had secured the agreement of several casting directors to subtly plant “well dressed negroes” into films, including “a dignified negro butler” who has lines “indicating he is a free man” in Sangaree (1953) and in a golf club scene in the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis vehicle The Caddy (1953). Elsewhere, CIA arranged the removal of key scenes from the film Arrowhead (1953), which questioned America’s treatment of Apache Indians, including a sequence where a tribe is forcibly shipped and tagged by the US Army. Such changes were not part of a ham-fisted campaign to instill what we now call “political correctness” in the populace. Rather, they were specifically enacted to hamper the Soviets’ ability to exploit its enemy’s poor record in race relations and served to create a peculiarly anodyne impression of America, which was, at that time, still mired in an era of racial segregation.

    Other efforts were made. The PSB tried –unsuccessfully– to commission Frank Capra to direct Why We Fight the Cold War and to provide details to filmmakers about conditions in the USSR in the hope that they would use them in their movies. More successfully, in 1950, the CIA –along with other secretive organizations like the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) and aided by the PSB– bought the rights to and invested in the cartoon of George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1954), which was given an anti-Soviet spin to satisfy its covert investors. Author Daniel Leab has pointed to the fact it took decades for the rumours about CIA involvement in Animal Farm to be properly documented; this, he observes, “Speaks volumes about the ability of a government agency to keep its activities covert.”

    Additionally, the production of the Michael Redgrave featureNineteen-Eighty Four (1956) was in turn overseen by the American Committee for Cultural Freedom, which was supervised by the CIA. Key points in the movie were altered to demonise the Soviets.

    The CIA also tampered with the 1958 film version of The Quiet American, provoking the author, Graham Greene, to denounce the film. US Air Force Colonel Edward Lansdale, the CIA operative behind Operation Mongoose (the CIA sabotage and assassination campaign against Cuba) had entered into production correspondence with director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who accepted his ideas. These included a change to the final scene in which we learn that Redgrave’s anti-hero has been hoodwinked by the Communists into murdering the suspicious American, who turns out not to be a bomb-maker as we had been led to believe, but instead a manufacturer of children’s toys.

    Behind the Scenes

    It would be a mistake to regard the CIA as unique in its involvement in Hollywood. The industry is in fact fundamentally open to manipulation by a range of state agencies. In 2000, it emerged that the White House’s drug war officers had spent tens of millions of dollars paying the major US networks to inject anti-drug plots into the scripts of primetime series such as ER, The Practice, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Chicago Hope. Despite criticism for this blatant propagandizing, the government continued to employ this method of spreading its message on drugs.

    The White House went to Tinsel Town again the following year when, on November 11, 2001 a meeting was held in Hollywood between President Bush’s then Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, and representatives of each of the major Hollywood studios to discuss how the film industry might contribute to the ‘War on Terror.’ Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America said with a straight face that, “content was off the table”, but Rove had clearly outlined a series of requests. It is hard to gauge the consequences of the meeting, but a Rambo sequel, for instance, was certainly discussed, and duly produced. Similarly, several series with national security themes emerged within a short time of the meeting including She Spies (2002-2004) and Threat Matrix (2003).

    The meeting was, in fact, just one in a series between Hollywood and the White House from October to December, 2001. On October 17, in response to 9/11, the White House announced the formation of its “Arts and Entertainment Task Force,” and by November, Valenti had assumed leadership of Hollywood’s new role in the ‘War on Terror’. As a direct result of meetings, Congress sought advice from Hollywood insiders on how to shape an effective wartime message to America and to the world. In November 2001, John Romano, writer-producer of the popular US TV series Third Watch, advised the House International Relations Committee that the content of Hollywood productions was a key part of shaping foreign perceptions of America.

    On December 5, 2001, the powerful Academy of Television Arts & Sciences convened its own panel entitled “Hollywood Goes to War?” to discuss what the industry might do in response to 9/11. Representing the government at the meeting were Mark McKinnon, a White House advisor, and the Pentagon’s chief entertainment liaison, Phil Strub. Also in attendance, among others, were Jeff Zucker, President of NBC Entertainment, and Aaron Sorkin, creator and writer of the White House drama The West Wing (1999-2006). Immediately after, Sorkin and his team set about producing a special episode of the show dealing with a massive terrorist threat to America entitled “Isaac and Ishmael”. The episode was given top priority and was successfully completed and aired within just ten days of the meeting. The product championed the superiority of American values whilst brimming with rage against the Islamist jihadists.

    The interlocking of Hollywood and national security apparatuses remains as tight as ever: ex-CIA agent Bob Baer told us, “There’s a symbiosis between the CIA and Hollywood” and revealed that former CIA director George Tenet is currently, “out in Hollywood, talking to studios.” Baer’s claims are given weight by the Sun Valley meetings, annual get-togethers in Idaho’s Sun Valley in which several hundred of the biggest names in American media –including every major Hollywood studio executive– convene to discuss collective media strategy for the coming year. Against the idyllic backdrop of expansive golf courses, pine forests and clear fishing lakes, deals are struck, contracts are signed, and the face of the American media is quietly altered. The press has yet to be granted permission to report on these corporate media gatherings and so the exact nature of what is discussed at the events has never been publicly disclosed. It is known, however, that Tenet was keynote speaker at Sun Valley in 2003 (whilst still CIA head) and again in 2005.


    Many would recoil at the thought of modern Hollywood cinema being used as a propagandist tool, but the facts seem to speak for themselves. Do agencies such as the CIA have the power, like the Pentagon, to affect movie content by providing much-sought-after expertise, locations and other benefits? Or are they able to affect script changes through simple persuasion, or even coercion? Do they continue to carry out covert actions in Hollywood as they did so extensively in the 1950s, and, beyond cinema, might covert government influence play some part in the creation of national security messages in TV series such as 24 and Alias (the star of the latter, Jennifer Garner, even made an unpaid recruitment video for the CIA)? The notion that covert agencies aspire to be more open is hard to take seriously when they provide such scant information about their role within the media, even regarding activities from decades past. The spy may have come in from the cold, but he continues to shelter in the shadows of the movie theatre.

    source globalresearch


    Active Member
    Paging Dr Haus: German doctor cures mystery illness after recalling a similar diagnosis from Hugh Laurie's curmudgeonly antihero House

    House, the prickly doctor-genius with an astonishingly convincing American accent, has earned Hugh Laurie fame in America and plaudits of both sides of the Atlantic. Now, despite the minor disadvantage of being a fictional character, he has also helped save a life.

    In a submission to one of the world’s leading medical journals, German doctors report the case of a man who came to hospital suffering from severe heart failure. Medical examinations at the Marburg University clinic ruled out the most likely causes, coronary artery disease. The 55-year-old man also had fever of unknown origin, had gone almost deaf and blind and had an underactive thyroid.

    Fortunately for him, the Marburg is unusual among teaching hospitals for offering a lecture entitled: ‘Dr House revisited – or: would we have saved the patient in Marburg as well?’ – led by Dr Juergen R. Schaefer of the hospital’s Centre for Undiagnosed Diseases.

    Clinicians quickly noticed striking similarities between the man’s symptoms and those displayed by a fictional patient in an episode used in one of the lectures, which teach students to diagnose rare diseases.

    “Searching for the cause combining these symptoms - and remembering an episode of the TV series House which we used for teaching medical students (series seven, episode 11) - we suspected cobalt intoxication as the most likely reason,” the doctors write in The Lancet today.

    It emerged that the patient’s problems had started half a year after a hip replacement in May 2010, in which a broken ceramic-on-ceramic artificial hip was changed for a metal-on-plastic version. The metal had been worn down by ceramic particles left behind, and was now spread into the bloodstream, poisoning the man to the point that he was in a serious condition by the time he arrived at Dr Schaefer’s clinic in May 2012.

    For more than a year the problem had gone undiagnosed, but it was almost identical to a case that House diagnoses in an episode called Family Practice, first shown in 2011. The patient was sent to have his hip replaced again, with a new ceramic version. He stabilised and his heart function later recovered.

    “I must admit House was pretty helpful in this case,” Dr Schaefer told The Independent. “I did a seminar on cobalt intoxication and then half a year later came across this patient.”

    “I have used the show for five years as a teaching tool. When it started I used it just to get the students into the lecture hall. But it worked and we had 30 to 40 students in to listen to lectures on rare and unusual diseases.”

    The newspapers soon caught on, dubbing Dr Schaefer ‘the German House’. It proved a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading patients from around the country to his clinic with their mystery conditions.

    “Patients who had been troubled for years with undiagnosed diseases call me up and say: ‘Well you are the German Dr House, can I get an appointment!’” he said.

    The clinic has helped many patients with previously undiagnosed diseases and Dr Schaefer has won national awards for his teaching and his clinical skills – but he remains modest about the House comparisons.

    “He is a troublesome character, but based on his medical skills I take it as a compliment,” he said. “It is such a great TV show, where they use true stories from case reports from the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet. So it’s only a matter of time before you will bump into a patient with the same problems.”

    source independent


    Active Member
    Woody Allen denies sexual assault claims by adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in newspaper article

    Filmmaker Woody Allen has refuted allegations that he sexually assaulted his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in a lengthy essay for the New York Times, which was published online on Friday evening. Allen strongly denied abusing Farrow, and blamed the furore on her mother, Mia, claiming Mia coached the young Dylan to say Allen abused her, as revenge for their “acrimonious breakup”.

    Allen wrote that when he was first faced with the allegations of child molestation, “I found the idea so ludicrous I didn’t give it a second thought… I naïvely thought the accusation would be dismissed out of hand because of course, I hadn’t molested Dylan.”

    The abuse, which is alleged to have occurred in 1992, when Farrow was seven years old, made headlines again following the Golden Globes on 12 January, when Allen was honoured with a lifetime achievement award. During the ceremony, Mia Farrow and her son Ronan – Dylan’s brother – tweeted barbed references to the 22-year-old accusations.

    Last week, the Times published an open letter from Dylan Farrow on the blog of columnist Nicholas Kristol, in which she too reiterated the abuse allegations and offered further details of the incident. In his response, Allen questioned Dylan’s authorship of the letter, suggesting that some of its content “smells a lot more like Mia than Dylan.”

    Allen’s breakup with Farrow was precipitated by his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, Farrow’s adopted daughter from her earlier marriage to Andre Previn. Allen and Soon-Yi have since been married for 16 years and have two adopted children of their own.

    Allen wrote, of his split with Farrow, “I never saw [Dylan] again nor was I able to speak with her no matter how hard I tried. I still loved her deeply, and felt guilty that by falling in love with Soon-Yi I had put her in the position of being used as a pawn for revenge. Soon-Yi and I made countless attempts to see Dylan but Mia blocked them all, spitefully knowing how much we both loved her but totally indifferent to the pain and damage she was causing the little girl merely to appease her own vindictiveness.”

    Allen also made reference to widespread speculation that his estranged biological son, Ronan, was in fact fathered by Frank Sinatra. That speculation was fanned by Farrow in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, in which she admitted Sinatra might have been Ronan’s father.

    “Even if he is not Frank’s, the possibility she raises that he could be, indicates she was secretly intimate with him during our years,” Allen wrote. “Not to mention all the money I paid for child support. Was I supporting Frank’s son? Again, I want to call attention to the integrity and honesty of a person who conducts her life like that.”

    Allen’s essay will be printed in the newspaper’s Sunday edition, and is, he insisted, his “final word on this entire matter”.

    On Friday night, in a statement responding to Allen’s op-ed, Dylan Farrow wrote, “Once again, Woody Allen is attacking me and my family in an effort to discredit and silence me — but nothing he says or writes can change the truth. For 20 years, I have never wavered in describing what he did to me. I will carry the memories of surviving these experiences for the rest of my life.”

    source independent


    Well-Known Member
    A cleaner has mistakenly thrown away contemporary artworks meant to be part of an exhibition in southern Italy.

    Works made out of newspaper and cardboard, and cookie pieces scattered across the floor as part of Sala Murat's display were thrown out.

    Lorenzo Roca, from cleaning firm Chiarissima, said the unnamed cleaner was "just doing her job".

    He added his firm's insurance would cover the value of the art, estimated to be around 10,000 euros (£8,200).

    According to local press, security noticed a number of items were missing when the venue, in the province of Bari, opened on Wednesday morning.

    It later emerged the cleaner had handed them over to refuse collectors, thinking it was rubbish left behind by workers who set up the Mediating Landscape exhibition.
    "We are obviously very sorry for what happened," city marketing commissioner Antonio Maria Vasile said.

    "It's clear the cleaning person did not realise she had thrown away two works and their value. But this is all about the artists who have been able to better interpret the meaning of contemporary art, which is to interact with the environment.

    "In any case, the insurance will cover the damages caused."

    It is not the first time artwork has been accidentally thrown away by a cleaner.

    In 2001, a Damien Hirst installation at London's Eyestorm Gallery consisting of a collection of beer bottles, coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays was cleared away.

    Later, in 2004, a bag of paper and cardboard by German artist Gustav Metzger was also thrown out while on a display at Tate Britain.

    Source: BBC


    Active Member
    Led Zeppelin return with new 'unheard' song after scouring vaults for unreleased recordings

    Led Zeppelin is stirring once again. A previously unheard song will be aired, alongside dozens of unreleased live and studio recordings, after the legendary rockers scoured their vaults for an extensive reissue programme.

    "La La", recorded during the sessions for Led Zeppelin II, the band’s 1969 album which defined their riff-heavy sound, will be made available for the first time on a companion disc of unheard recordings when the record is re-released in June.

    Jimmy Page, Zeppelin’s guitarist, has re-mastered each of Zeppelin’s albums and raided the vaults for rarities, which will accompany each release in the reissue programme.

    “The material on the companion discs presents a portal to the time of the recording of Led Zeppelin,” said Page, 70. “It is a selection of work in progress with rough mixes, backing tracks, alternate versions, and new material recorded at the time.”

    All nine of the band’s studio albums will be released in chronological order, beginning with Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, and Led Zeppelin III. The band, who sold 300 million albums, also recently agreed to add their catalogue to the Spotify streaming service.

    The renewed burst of Zeppelin activity will raise hopes that the heavy rock pioneers may tour once again. Their 2007 reunion gig at the O2 Arena was rapturously received. But whilst Page and bassist John Paul Jones are keen to hit the road, vocalist Robert Plant has declined, preferring to pursue his Grammy-winning solo career.

    The reissue of their 1969 self-titled debut, features a previously unreleased performance recorded on October 10, 1969 at the Olympia Theatre in Paris. The nine-song set features seven tracks from the album, including an epic 15-minute version of “Dazed And Confused,” as well as “Heartbreaker” and “Moby ****,” which would debut on Led Zeppelin II later that month.

    Led Zeppelin II, which includes the band’s signature hit “Whole Lotta Love”, features alternate mixes of five songs from the album, including backing tracks to “Thank You” and “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman),” as well as “La La.”

    The nine tracks featured on the companion CD to Led Zeppelin III, released in 1970, offers a window into the band’s recording process with seven studio outtakes of songs from the album as well as three previously unheard compositions: “Jennings Farm Blues” (an instrumental forerunner of “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp”), “Bathroom Sound” (an instrumental version of “Out On The Tiles”), and their take on the blues classics “Keys To The Highway/Trouble In Mind.”

    With physical music sales in apparently permanent decline, the industry is seeking to cash in on the purchasing power of older fans who are willing to buy deluxe versions of classic material.

    The Zeppelin releases include an 180-gram vinyl version, replicating the original sleeves. A “super deluxe boxed set” includes vinyl, a “high-def audio download card off all content at 96kHz/24 bit” and a 70-page hard-bound book including previously unseen photos and memorabilia.

    Interest in one of rock’s most innovative groups remains intense. In 2012, the band was invited to the White House and given a lifetime contribution to American culture award at the Kennedy Center Honors.

    In January, the band won their first ever Grammy award when Celebration Day, which captured their live performance at the O2 tribute concert for Atlantic Record boss Ahmet Ertegun, was named Best Rock Album.

    Formed in 1968, Led Zeppelin’s collision of blues-based rock and piledriving drums, allied to excursions into lyrical, acoustic folk, established the band as one of music’s biggest live attractions.

    Notorious for their debauched behaviour on tour, Zeppelin disbanded in 1980 following the death of drummer John Bonham. They have been cited as an influence since by artists ranging from Madonna to Metallica and Jack White.

    source independent


    Active Member
    Mick Jagger’s Rolling Stones bandmates express concerns for frontman as Medical Examiner confirms L'Wren Scott's suicide

    Mick Jagger’s bandmates in the Rolling Stones have expressed their public support for the frontman in the wake of his girlfriend L’Wren Scott’s tragic death earlier this week.

    “No-one saw this coming,” guitarist Keith Richards said in a statement to Billboard magazine. “Mick's always been my soul brother and we love him… we're thick as thieves and we're all feeling for the man.”

    “This is such terrible news and right now the important thing is that we are all pulling together to offer Mick our support and help him through this sad time,” Ronnie Wood added. “Without a doubt we intend to be back out on that stage as soon as we can.”

    “Needless to say we are all completely shocked but our first thought is to support Mick at this awful time,” said drummer Charlie Watts.

    “He's holding up…He's not really well,” The Mail quoted Watts as saying earlier the same day. “He's not really here. It was such a shock.”

    Their show of solidarity comes after a New York City Chief Medical Examiner confirmed that Scott had committed suicide. She was found by her assistant in her Manhattan apartment on Monday morning on her knees with a scarf around her neck. She had hung herself on the handle of her French door.

    Jagger paid an emotional tribute to Scott on his official website earlier this week.

    “I am still struggling to understand how my lover and best friend could end her life in this tragic way,” he wrote.

    “She had great presence and her talent was much admired, not least by me. I have been touched by the tributes that people have paid to her, and also the personal messages of support that I have received. I will never forget her, Mick.”

    The Rolling Stones have cancelled the forthcoming scheduled dates of their tour in New Zealand and Australia.

    source independent


    Active Member
    New Kurt Cobain suicide scene photos released as 20th anniversary of his death approaches

    As the 20th anniversary of his death approaches, Seattle police have released previously unseen images showing drug paraphernalia taken at the scene of Kurt Cobain’s suicide.

    Police spokesman Renee Witt said that a detective who recently reviewed the Cobain case files found several roles of undeveloped film that were taken at the Nirvana frontman’s home at the time of his death.

    But she said there was no evidence to change the police conclusion that Cobain took his own life and the case remains closed.

    In one image is a box containing a spoon and what looks like needles on the floor next to half a cigarette and sunglasses.

    In another picture the same box is seen closed , next to cash, a cigarette pack and a wallet that appears to show Cobain’s ID.

    "There was nothing earth-shattering in any of these images," Ms Witt said.

    Police took another look at the Cobain suicide in preparation for answering questions in connection with next month’s anniversary, she said.

    "There's still a lot of interest in this case," she said. "The detective went into the case files to refresh himself. The outcome of the case has not changed."

    27-year-old Cobain was found dead in Seattle on 8 April, 1994. An investigation determined that days earlier he had gone into the greenhouse of his large home and taken a massive dose of heroin, before shooting himself with a 20-gauge shotgun.

    He had already tried to kill himself in Rome earlier that year by taking an overdose of tranquilisers.

    The "Smells Like Teen Spirit" singer sold millions of albums with Nirvana and helped popularise the Pacific Northwest’s heavy, “grunge” rock, along with bands like Pearl jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Mudhoney.

    The tragic star grew up in the logging town of Aberdeen, Washington, which is about two hours from Seattle. After his death, thousands of young people converged on Seattle Centre, near the Space Needle, for a public memorial.

    Despite his death being ruled a suicide, conspiracy theories emerged that Cobain had been murdered.

    In a statement from the Seattle Police Department, the detective who re-examined the case dismissed that speculation.

    "Sometimes people believe what they read - some of the disinformation from some of the books, that this was a conspiracy. That's completely inaccurate," said Detective Mike Ciesynski, who found the four rolls of undeveloped crime-scene photos.

    "It's a suicide. This is a closed case."

    source independent


    Active Member
    Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin to split after more than 10 years of marriage

    Actor Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay singer Chris Martin are to split after more than 10 years of marriage, they announced in a blog post entitled “Conscious Uncoupling”.

    “It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate,” the celebrity couple wrote on Paltrow's Goop website.

    “We have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate… We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been.”

    Martin and Paltrow, who married in 2003, have two children, Apple, 9, and Moses, 7.

    “We are parents first and foremost, to two incredibly wonderful children and we ask for their and our space and privacy to be respected at this difficult time,” they added.

    “We have always conducted our relationship privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple and coparent, we will be able to continue in the same manner.”

    Martin, 37, the Grammy-winning lead vocalist of Coldplay, and Paltrow, 41, who won an Oscar for her performance in “Shakespeare in Love”, were among Hollywood's highest profile couples.

    The duo frequently accompanied each other to public events, such as this year's Golden Globes ceremony and the Help Haiti Home gala earlier this year, but they rarely posed together on red carpets.

    source independent


    Active Member
    Caped crusaders: What really goes on at the Knights of Malta's secretive headquarters?

    Most of the great conspiracy theories thrown up by history are so outlandish that it would seem impossible that anything could unite them. And yet there is a common link between the assassination of JFK, the Iraq War, and most of the conspiracies in between. It's not the reptilian bloodline of David Icke, nor the grubby Shylocks of ancient anti-Semitism. Haven't you heard? It's the Knights of Malta.

    Leaked lists of their supposed membership read like a Who's Who of the global establishment: the first President George Bush; Rupert Murdoch; the head of the CIA; Tony Blair; Michael Bloomberg. All, apparently, signed-up representatives of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta.

    "The Knights are your CIA, your politicians, your lobbyist, your previous, present and future presidents," Google tells us. "They are the most powerful group known to man. They are the agents of the dark lord." Which is why, when I received an invitation to visit them at their headquarters in Rome, I booked a flight immediately.

    The Order's home is on the Via Condotti, a short distance from the Spanish Steps. The building is part of the bequest it maintained after being forced from its stronghold on Malta by Napoleon at the end of the 18th century. Homeless and largely impoverished, the remaining knights wandered Europe for decades before settling on Italian shores and decamping to their old embassy, which has been the Order's HQ ever since.

    All the trappings of a glorious theological order are here: a Renaissance palazzo; rooms holding oil portraits of kings, queens and emperors; a display case filled with ancient swords; and, in its own chapel, a site of such opulence that it is where King Juan Carlos of Spain was baptised by the future Pope Pius XII.

    But if the internet fantasists were to gain access to the Order's inner sanctum, they would be gravely disappointed. There is the occasional aspect to get their pulses racing – not least the prevalent heraldry and ever-presentness of minions in their uniform of black tails and scarlet waistcoats – but this is no James Bond bunker. Rather, its tone is musty Oxbridge college, complete with wood-panelled rooms and bookcases filled with dusty tomes. There are even the obligatory pigeon-holes in the porter's lodge for letters.

    source independent


    Active Member
    Piers Morgan Ends His Final Show With Gun Control Push: 'Enough!'

    The final show of CNN's Piers Morgan Live aired on Friday, ending with the host giving a final plea for gun control in the United States.
    "Now it's down to you," Morgan said. "It's your country; these are your gun laws. And the senseless slaughter will only end when enough Americans stand together and cry: Enough!"

    While much of the final show focused on the missing Malaysia Airliner, Morgan spent his last few minutes focusing on guns in America — a topic he had often ranted against in the past. His viewpoint angered many Americans, most notably resulting in a White House petition to have the British-born anchor deported.

    Morgan's ratings cratered in recent months and the show's planned end was announced back in February. While he believed his anti-gun stance was at least partially to blame, even Larry King's (who he took over for) ratings tanked toward the end of his tenure, The Guardian notes.

    Here are his full remarks:

    "I assumed that after 70 people were shot in a movie theater, and then, just a few months later, 20 first-graders were murdered with an assault rifle in an elementary school, the absurd gun laws in this country would change. But nothing has happened.

    The gun lobby in America, led by the NRA, has bullied this nation's politicians into cowardly, supine silence. Even when 20 young children are blown away in their classrooms.This is a shameful situation that has made me very angry. So angry, in fact, that some people have criticized me for being too loud, opinionated, even rude when I have debated the issue of guns. But I make no apologies for that."

    As Sir Winston Churchill said: 'If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.'

    My point is simple: More guns doesn't mean less crime, as the NRA repeatedly says. It means more gun violence, death and profits for the gun manufacturers. And to those who claim my gun control campaigning has been "anti-American," the reverse is true. I am so pro-American that I want more of you to stay alive. But I've made my point. I've given it a tremendous whack. Now it's down to you. It's your country; these are your gun laws. And the senseless slaughter will only end when enough Americans stand together and cry: Enough!"

    The show's time slot will be filled by Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, and others until a replacement is named, USA Today reports.

    source businessinsider


    Active Member

    No one is likely to have missed the fact that, in eight days’ time, season 4 of Game of Thrones begins. That’s because HBO’s adaptation of George R R Martin’s fantasy series has grown into the television event to end them all, generating the kind of hype that most Hollywood blockbusters can only dream of. But why has it slayed popular culture so? Here, we present the greatness of Game of Thrones, from A to Z.

    Arya A teen hero so badass, it feels wrong to even mention her age: she can wield a sword just as easily as she can out-eyeball Charles Dance.

    Beards Recent contentions that we have reached "peak beard" will remain specious, as long as GoT is on our screens. From Littlefinger's devilish haute-goatee to Jon Snow's lustrous, icicle-frosted bumfluff, it's a trove of aspirational facial hair.

    Catchphrases Once upon a time, we used to get to autumn and simper about it "getting a bit nippy outside" - but now, instead, we can drop our voices two octaves, stare into the middle distance, and declare "Winter is coming" like the pop-cultural genii we are. And in what way is that not progress?

    Dragons Were the show ever to devolve into silliness (what? "devolve" you say? Oh shush), we'd have to keep watching if only to see what kind of Armageddon the Khaleesi's fire-breathing brood might yet cause. And this is going to be a real breakout season for the scaly scamps, speculation suggests.

    Expense That's to say thank God the rights were acquired by a big US network ready to spunk limitless money all over the screen rather than, say, a beleaguered UK one; for evidence of why, see the Beeb's Game of Thrones bandwagon-jumper The White Queen and its minimalist battle scenes.

    Fancy Dress Parties Obviously one of the key reasons for its existence. And given that, according to British lore, you are never more than six miles from a GoT cast member, getting one to grace your shindig in full costume is an eminently feasible coup de théatre.

    Genre Its masterstroke, in terms of mass appeal, is the fact that it's a fantasy series with so few obvious fantasy elements that you're tempted to call it a historical drama - until you remember that there was absolutely no century in which you had to be on guard for "shadow-babies".

    Humour Not its chief selling point, but the show does leaven the trauma with the occasional zinger, usually dispensed by Peter Dinklage's patron saint of sarcasm Tyrion Lannister and Diana Rigg's magnificent Lady Olenna Redwyne, who would totally beat Downton's Countess Violet in a battle of the quipping dynastic battleaxes.

    Intricacy You know those impatient sorts who complain about not understanding what's going on? They probably don't let passengers off the Tube before boarding too. You need to relax: sharing in the disorientation of the poor patsies of Westeros is all part of the fun.

    Joffrey A pusillanimous hate-figure extraordinaire, on to whom the GoT fanbase likes to displace its quiet rage and existential despair at the end of a long Monday. All credit to actor Jack Gleeson, the man behind the absolute ... monarch.

    Killing There's a shedload of violence, but it's of the horrifically consequential rather than breezy, action-movie kind, as anyone knows who remembers that thing that happened in Series 3 episode 9 that shall remain nameless but caused a nation to swear off television for at least the next 12 hours. And that's probably the kind we need more of, really.

    Lannisters Domineering patriarchs, wayward sons, conniving daughters, and a little light incest: they may be dressed in breastplates and vermilion, but at heart, they're just your traditional soap brood. Now where's that Religious Festival Day special with Cersei throwing the roast kid and all the trimmings at Jaime's noggin?

    Music You'd think that a quasi-medieval series would settle for a few lute waftings. Instead it's given us songs by cult US rockers The National and the Hold Steady and last month's bizarrely entertaining GoT hip-hop mixtape .

    New character Oberyn Martell

    Names We can't list them all, so let's just take a representative journey from Daenerys Targaryen to Hot Pie: which is to say they run the gamut from ridiculously baroque to pastry products.

    Odd couples Brienne and Jaime, Tyrion and Shae, Tyrion and Sansa, Arya and Tywin, Arya and the Hound: those buddy-comedy spin-off movies are all ready to roll.

    Pace For all the fighting and shagging, the tempo is generally pretty slow, nicely reflecting the hard slog of conquest. (Though arguably we didn't need quite the slog that was Alfie Allen's Theon Greyjoy spending the entirety of season 3 undergoing castration foreplay while chained up in a dungeon.)

    Queerness All power to a fantasy drama that realistically acknowledges the existence of gay people! So far, we've had the relationship between the late prince Renly and his knight Loras Tyrell, and in this series we are promised the arrival of bisexual couple Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand.

    Realpolitik Values are for those who don't value their heads and the acquisition of power is the only good reason to get up in the morning; for those who like their cynical view of politics indulged, GoT beats Question Time hands down.

    Speeches In a tale of war and royalty, you should really expect some rhetorical doozies and these the scriptwriters have duly provided - our favourite, so far, being Tyrion's anti-Churchillian turn at Season 2's climactic Battle of Blackwater Bay, where, true to character, he told his troops to forget all the patriotic "for king and kingdom" stuff and fight only for themselves.

    Throne That's the Iron one, made from a thousand swords of the vanquished and the best piece of small-screen seating since Chandler and Joey's recliners.

    Uncertainty In many shows, shock deaths come on like rating-chasing tactics; in GoT, they're only natural. The Grim Reaper, it brilliantly reminds us, is no respecter of position on the cast list - or on the social spectrum - and the only certainty is, as ever, that any character played by Sean Bean is doomed.

    Vice/virtue If you are anything like this GoT audience member, you are probably mooning over the chastened nature and strange nobility of a guy who once paralysed a child after being caught having sex with his own sister. Suffice to say, it messes with your moral compass.

    Women How ironic that the television show with the best selection of female characters (OK, Orange is the New Black excepted) should be about an uber-patriarchal society. Or depressing. But still, good on it.

    X-rated The nudity is a controversial, but at least interesting, subject. On one hand, all the boobiness might be a reflection of the show's aforementioned patriarchal world. Or on the other, a reflection of our porny one.

    Youth The child actors are uniformly ace. The only problem is that their child status is disappearing fast - as George R R Martin has noted anxiously: "Time is passing very slowly in the books and very fast in real life."

    Zombies We're not flagging here at all, honest, but the White Walkers are a bit zombie-like and we do like a bit of trumped-up horror-movie theatrics just to remind us that GoT is only a TV show and not, you know, everything.

    source independent
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Tamanna Khan

    New Member
    Hey guys, do you enjoy watching superhero movies just as much as I do? I was always a huge fan of Spiderman, but I think Marvel has done an even better job! I mean the concept is fantastic. Some of the best blockbusters! I loved Iron Man and Avengers. The trailer of Captain America: The Winter Soldier has got me super excited and I can’t wait for the 3rd of April!

    Have you guys seen the trailer of #CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier? Whoa! Chris Evans looks hot! :D

    Last edited by a moderator:


    Active Member
    A Game of Social Thrones Video

    A year ago, we at HootSuite showed just how much we love Game of Thrones with our Social Media Winter is Coming infographic. The infographic was a visual representation of the quiet battles being fought between many social networks, who were building walls and blocking access between their respective sites and apps. That graphic was a hit with the social media community, so we knew we had to take things up a notch for this season’s premiere. Enter the Game of Social Thrones video.

    Last edited by a moderator:


    Active Member
    'Game Of Thrones' Actor Peter Dinklage: 'If You See Me On The Street And Want A Photo, Ask!'

    "Game of Thrones" actor Peter Dinklage is known as the laid-back, fun-loving Tyrion Lannister on the popular HBO series, but in real life there's one thing that irks him.
    During a recent Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), the actor was asked if he liked living in New York.

    While the actor said he's generally a private person, the only thing that upsets him is people trying to sneakily take his photo.

    "One thing that sort of gets to you are the cameras/cellphones," Dinklage wrote. "People try to be sneaky and try to get your picture without coming up to you or asking, and that’s what kind of gets to me."

    Dinklage added he has seen "every combination" of people trying to get his photo.

    "Some people will even send their kids over to ask for directions!" he said.

    Instead of being embarrassed or trying snap a quick shot, the actor said he'd rather have fans muster up the courage and ask for a picture.

    "If you see me on the street and want a photo, ask!" he said wrapping up the AMA. "It's just weird when your kid asks for directions."

    source businessinsider


    Active Member
    Here's Howard Stern Facing Off With The White Supremacist Accused Of Anti-Semitic Shooting

    Shock jock Howard Stern once traded shots with the suspect in Sunday's shooting that left three people dead at a Jewish community center and retirement home in Kansas.
    Frazier Glenn Miller, aka Frazier Glenn Cross, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, posted audio of an interview he did on Stern's radio show on his website. The interview appears to date from Miller's unsuccessful 2010 Senate campaign as Stern refers to the race and quips Miller is "the only honest politician out there." Throughout the interview, Miller rages about Jews.

    "Compared to our Jewish problem, all other problems are mere distractions," Miller said.

    Stern's co-host, Robin Quivers, asked Miller to explain "the biggest problem with the Jews."

    "They control the federal government, they control the mass media, they control the Federal Reserve Bank, and with those powers, they commit genocide against the white race," said Miller. "The Jews control the United States government according to Patrick Buchanan."

    Stern also asked Miller to explain his campaign slogan, which is: "It's the Jews, stupid."

    "That really tells it all, doesn't it?" Miller said.

    At one point, Miller challenged Stern, who is Jewish.

    "What gives Jews the right to Israel? You tell us," Miller said to the host. "You're a Jew. You support Israel and you know it."

    "Oh, I do support Israel," responded Stern. "I think it's great."

    Audio file + source Businessinsider


    Active Member
    Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

    It was an injustice that inspired Bob Dylan to write his final furious protest song about a specific, real-life case at the height of influence within America’s civil rights movement.

    Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who died on Sunday at his home in Toronto at the age of 76, of prostate cancer, was an up-and-coming boxer when he was accused of three murders in New Jersey in 1966. Carter was black and the victims were white, as were the two main witnesses against him. They were believed – even though they were carrying out a burglary at the time.

    After a racially charged trial, he was found guilty and jailed until his conviction was overturned in 1985.

    Dylan’s song “Hurricane”, on the 1976 album Desire, was the end of a line of protest songs – such as 1963’s “Oxford Town” and 1964’s “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” – about often African-American individuals viciously trampled by the authorities.

    “In Paterson that’s just the way things go,” the singer states laconically in “Hurricane”. “If you’re black you might as well not show up on the street/Unless you wanna draw the heat.”

    He was confidently drawing on the history of the Civil Rights struggle during the early Sixties. The song was also inevitably inspired by the boxer who became a symbol of that struggle at the decade’s end: Muhammad Ali. Carter’s travails seemed to link the world of “Blowin’ in the Wind” with the heavyweight champion who refused to fight in Vietnam. When Ali appeared at the Night of the Hurricane benefit concert at Madison Square Garden in 1975, the confluence was complete.

    An acoustic guitar accelerates at "Hurricane"’s start, as Scarlett Rivera’s violin adds ambience. Then, with no further warning: “Pistol-shots ring out in the barroom night”. Dylan spits righteous, relished venom, squeezing and stretching syllables and dropping his voice to confiding intimacy, as he communicates amazement verging on bitter amusement at the scale of injustice. It’s an actorly performance, one of his mightiest.

    The song, co-written with Jacques Levy, attains cinematic scope during more than eight minutes of quick-fire narrative. It fearlessly names names in a way that seems impossible today. Tweaks from Columbia Records’ justifiably nervous lawyers didn’t stop an unsuccessful lawsuit by a key witness, Patricia Valentine, which dragged an unhelpful Dylan to the witness box.

    “Hurricane” hit the US top 40 in 1975, heralding the release of Desire and Dylan’s commercial peak. But, like another song on the album which romanticised a jailed man – “Joey”, a laughable whitewash of the late, murderous Mafioso Joey Gallo – Dylan’s artistic liberality with the facts behind his “J’Accuse” came back to haunt him. Carter’s history of violence outside the ring had been excised from the song. When the boxer’s 1976 retrial saw him found guilty again, Dylan’s support became less vocal. The case of Jack Henry Abbott, a killer released from jail in 1981 with the endorsement of the author Norman Mailer, only for him to quickly kill again, seemed a larger but equivalent misjudgement.

    But Carter’s final release as an innocent man confirmed Dylan’s instincts. The dramatic force of his song later helped inspire The Hurricane, Norman Jewison’s equally controversial biopic starring Denzel Washington as Carter.

    source Independent


    Active Member
    George R.R. Martin: The Rolling Stone Interview


    On a cold night in January, George R.R. Martin sits inside the Jean Cocteau Cinema, a revival theater that he owns in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he has lived since 1979. The Cinema had been showing the first three seasons of HBO's megahit series Game of Thrones, which is based on Martin's still-in-the-works saga A Song of Ice and Fire. After viewing the ninth episode, "Baelor," in which the story's apparent hero, Ned Stark, is unexpectedly beheaded, with the screen falling to black, Martin sits quietly for several moments, then says, "As many times as I've watched this, it still has great effect. Of course for me, there's so much more to the books."

    And much more to come: The Song of Ice and Fire cycle – first published in 1996 – currently stands at five volumes, with two more books ahead. Those final works, though, won't be anytime soon. Because Martin is a meticulous and slow writer, it is likely that years will pass before we learn the fates of Daenerys and her dragons, the recriminatory Lannister siblings and the shellshocked progeny in the Stark family. There is even the chance that the HBO series might arrive at key plot points before the books do, and though Martin once dismissed that possibility, he's now mindful of it. "I better get these books done," he tells me, on a drive through the streets of Santa Fe.

    Later on, Martin takes me to a small house with a book tower that serves as his office and writing space. (The home where he lives with his second wife, Parris, is nearby.) Martin has been writing since childhood, and started publishing science-fiction short stories just out of college in the early 1970s. They quickly established him as a serious and imaginative writer, telling tales of tragedy and, sometimes, of uncommon and hard-won redemption. He spent much of the Eighties and early Nineties working as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Then in 1991 he began A Game of Thrones, primarily a story about power and family, about the disastrous nature of both war and the human heart, and so far it has shown nobody – including the audience – any mercies. As is apparent in the fourth season, there are no guarantees that anybody in this story is safe.

    At his office, Martin escorts me to the den where we would talk. The room's walls hold glass cases, full of hundreds of beautiful miniatures of medieval figures and fantasy characters and scenes from Martin's books. Near a staircase that leads to Martin's library – at 65, he remains a voracious reader – stands a full-size and operational model of the famous Robby the Robot, from the 1956 film Forbidden Planet. "Robby the Robot," he tells me, "it was a great kick to buy him and to show him off. A bunch of money sitting in a pile – what do I get out of that?"

    Martin is an affable, candid, terrifically smart man, and he is loquacious. We talked for 10 hours that day, breaking only for dinner. His way of discussing Game of Thrones surprised me: He often spun questions into larger dissertations about history, war and society. Because Martin is a big man, with an infectious laugh and white hair, there might seem something of a Santa Claus aspect about him, except for his eyes, which are constantly flickering with thought – some of it quite dark – conveying a mind as shrewd as that belonging to any of his characters.

    One of the more dominant themes in Game of Thrones is family. It's what gives the characters purpose, but it also ruins them. What was your own sense of family and home like?

    I was born in 1948, and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey, which is a peninsula just south of Jersey City. By bus, it was 45 minutes to the heart of Manhattan, but Bayonne really was a world in and of itself. New York was very close, but we didn't go there very often. From the age of four I lived down on First Street, in the public-housing projects, facing the waters of Kill Van Kull, with Staten Island on the other side.

    My father was a Martin, but he was of Italian and German descent. My mother was a Brady – Irish. I heard a lot from my mother about the heritage of the Bradys, who had been a pretty important family at certain points in Bayonne history. I knew at a very early age that we were poor. But I also knew that my family hadn't always been poor. To get to my school, I had to walk past the house where my mother had been born, this house that had been our house once. I've looked back on that, of course, and in some of my stories there's this sense of a lost golden age, where there were wonders and marvels undreamed of. Somehow what my mother told me set all that stuff into my imagination.

    Was your relationship with your parents close?
    My father was a distant figure. I don't think that he ever understood me, and I don't know that I ever understood him. We didn't use the term then, but you could probably say he was a functioning alcoholic. I saw him every day, but we hardly talked. The only thing that we really bonded over was sports.

    Did you get out of Bayonne much before college?
    We never had a car. My father always said that drinking and driving was very bad, and he was not going to give up drinking [laughs]. My world was a very small world. For many years I stared out of our living-room window at the lights of Staten Island. To me, those lights of Staten Island were like Shangri-La, and Singapore, and Shanghai, or whatever. I read books, and I dreamed of Mars, and the planets in those books, and of the Hyborian Age of Robert E. Howard's Conan books, and later of Middle-earth – all these colorful places. I would dream of those places just as I dreamed of Staten Island, and Shanghai.

    In 1966, you entered Northwestern, in Evanston, Illinois. I know that in the years that followed you underwent some serious moral and political changes due to your opposition to the Vietnam War.
    I was, like many kids of my generation, a hawk. I accepted that America was the good guys, we had to be there. When I got into college, the more I learned about our involvement in Vietnam, the more it seemed wrong to me. Of course, the draft was happening, and I decided to ask for the conscientious-objector status. I wasn't a complete pacifist; I couldn't claim to be that. I was what they called an objector to a particular war. I would have been glad to fight in World War II. But Vietnam was the only war on the menu. So I applied for conscientious-objector status in full belief that I would be rejected, and that I would have a further decision to make: Army, jail or Canada. I don't know what I would've done. Those were desperately hard decisions, and every kid had to make them for himself. To my surprise, they gave me the status. I was later told – I have no way to prove this – that I was granted the status because our conservative draft board felt that anyone who applied for CO status should be granted it, because that would be punishment enough: Then it would be part of their permanent record, and everybody would know that they were a Commie sympathizer, and it would ruin their lives.

    I don't think America has ever quite recovered from Vietnam. The divisions in our society still linger to this day. For my generation it was a deeply disillusioning experience, and it had a definite effect on me. The idealistic kid who graduated high school, a big believer in truth, justice and the American way, all these great values of superheroes of his youth, was certainly less idealistic by the time I got out of college.

    Where does your imagination come from?
    Ideas are cheap. I have more ideas now than I could ever write up. To my mind, it's the execution that is all-important. I'm proud of my work, but I don't know if I'd ever claim it's enormously original. You look at Shakespeare, who borrowed all of his plots. In A Song of Ice and Fire, I take stuff from the Wars of the Roses and other fantasy things, and all these things work around in my head and somehow they jell into what I hope is uniquely my own. But I don't know where it comes from, yet it comes – it's always come. If I was a religious guy, I'd say it's a gift from God, but I'm not, so I can't say that.

    Your earliest novels, Dying of the Light and Fevre Dream, did well. But The Armageddon Rag temporarily stopped your literary career. Then you spent years in Hollywood, writing for TV series. Do you think your subsequent writing – which, of course, would be A Song of Ice and Fire – benefited from mastering screenplays?
    I do. The big secret about writing screenplays and teleplays is that it's much easier than writing a novel or any kind of prose. William Goldman said everything that needed to be said about it in Adventures in the Screen Trade: It's all structure, structure and dialogue. Being there improved my sense of structure and dialogue. I'd spent so many years sitting alone in a room, facing a computer or typewriter before that. It was almost exhilarating to go into an office where there were other people – and to have a cup of coffee, and to talk about stories or developments in writers' meetings. But there were constant limitations. It wore me down. There were battles over censorship, how sexual things could be, whether a scene was too "politically charged," how violent things could be. Don't want to disturb anyone. We got into that fight on Beauty and the Beast. The Beast killed people. That was the point of the character. He was a beast. But CBS didn't want blood, or for the beast to kill people. They wanted us to show him picking up someone and throwing them across the room, and then they would get up and run away. Oh, my God, horrible monster! [Laughs] It was ludicrous. The character had to remain likable.

    You've talked before about the original glimpse of the story you had for what became A Song of Ice and Fire: a spontaneous vision in your mind of a boy witnessing a beheading, then finding direwolves in the snow. That's an interesting genesis.
    It was the summer of 1991. I was still involved in Hollywood. My agent was trying to get me meetings to pitch my ideas, but I didn't have anything to do in May and June. It had been years since I wrote a novel. I had an idea for a science-fiction novel called Avalon. I started work on it and it was going pretty good, when suddenly it just came to me, this scene, from what would ultimately be the first chapter of A Game of Thrones. It's from Bran's viewpoint; they see a man beheaded and they find some direwolf pups in the snow. It just came to me so strongly and vividly that I knew I had to write it. I sat down to write, and in, like, three days it just came right out of me, almost in the form you've read.

    How long did it take to do the world-building work?
    Basically, I wrote about a hundred pages that summer. It all occurs at the same time with me. I don't build the world first, then write in it. I just write the story, and then put it together. Drawing a map took me, I don't know, a half-hour. You fill in a few things, then as you write more it becomes more and more alive. In the meantime, I still pitched shows in Hollywood, but this Ice and Fire thing wouldn't leave my head. I kept thinking about it and scenes for these characters. It was just never far from me. I realized I really want to tell that story. By then I knew it was going to be a trilogy. Everybody was doing trilogies back then – J.R.R. Tolkien had sort of set the mold with The Lord of the Rings. Around 1994, I gave the hundred pages to my agent with a little two-page summary of where I saw the book series going. My agent got interest all over town – about four publishers bid on it. Suddenly I had an advance and I had a deadline, so I was able to say to my Hollywood agents: no more screenplays until I finish this novel.

    By deciding to write a trilogy – and now it's projected as seven books – were you worried you'd have to measure up to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings?
    Not particularly. From the 1970s, Tolkien imitators had retreaded what he'd done, with no originality and none of Tolkien's deep abiding love of myth and history. But I'd always been regarded, at least in the genre, as a serious writer. Also, this story had such a grip on me. I thought these books could have the gritty feel of historical fiction as well as some of the magic and awe of epic fantasy.

    With the exception of the fantasy elements, Game of Thrones might well have been a reimagination of the Wars of the Roses.
    I did consider at a very early stage – going all the way back to 1991 – whether to include overt fantasy elements, and at one point thought of writing a Wars of the Roses novel. But the problem with straight historical fiction is you know what's going to happen. If you know anything about the Wars of the Roses, you know that the princes in the tower aren't going to escape. I wanted to make it more unexpected, bring in some more twists and turns. The main question was the dragons: Do I include dragons? I knew I wanted to have the Targaryens have their symbol be the dragons; the Lannisters have the lions, the Starks have the wolves. Should these things be literal here? Should the Targaryens actually have dragons? I was discussing this with a friend, writer Phyllis Eisenstein – I dedicated the third book to her – and she said, "George, it's a fantasy – you've got to put in the dragons." She convinced me, and it was the right decision. Now that I'm deep into it, I can't imagine the book without the dragons.

    How did you come up with the Wall?
    The Wall predates anything else. I can trace back the inspiration for that to 1981. I was in England visiting a friend, and as we approached the border of England and Scotland, we stopped to see Hadrian's Wall. I stood up there and I tried to imagine what it was like to be a Roman legionary, standing on this wall, looking at these distant hills. It was a very profound feeling. For the Romans at that time, this was the end of civilization; it was the end of the world. We know that there were Scots beyond the hills, but they didn't know that. It could have been any kind of monster. It was the sense of this barrier against dark forces – it planted something in me. But when you write fantasy, everything is bigger and more colorful, so I took the Wall and made it three times as long and 700 feet high, and made it out of ice.

    Given the complexity of A Song of Ice and Fire, did you have concerns over how faithfully it could work onscreen?
    About the time of the third book I started getting calls from people in Hollywood. That interest accelerated when the Lord of the Rings movies started coming out, and suddenly studios wanted to do their own Lord of the Rings. Every fantasy in the world got optioned. Those films showed that an audience would respond seriously to dragons, and things like that. But I never thought, from the moment I started this, that it could be filmed. I said it's impossible. Tolkien's trilogy is about the size of A Storm of Swords. I have far more characters, far more settings, far more of everything, so it can't be filmed.

    Some people I met thought we have to find the story's through line. Who's the important character? Somebody thought that Dany's the important character – cut away everybody else, tell the story of Dany. Or Jon Snow. Those were the two most popular characters to build everything around, except you're losing 90 percent of the story. Somebody else suggested, "We'll just tell the beginning in one movie, and when it succeeds we'll do more movies." But if the film doesn't do well you never see the second movie; you get a broken fragment of an epic. I was in a fortunate position of not having to worry about paying my mortgage. So I said no to all these offers, but it did get me thinking: The only way it can be done is for television – but not for CBS or NBC, because it's too sexual, too violent, too complicated. The only way it could be done is by somebody like HBO.

    The show has given you millions of new fans, who, judging from online debate, are extremely passionate about your work. . . .

    It's a terrific feeling, knowing you have not only a lot of readers or viewers, but that they're so intense, and bringing so much thought and interest to bear. But maybe that's part of what's slowed me down – the knowledge that so many people are looking at every line, and waiting on every turn and scene. We have the untold-history book coming out later this year, where I've written a fake history. I find it amusing, and secretly pleasing, that I have so many fans who are interested in the history. I'm not sure if they would so eagerly study real history, you know? In school perhaps they're bored with all the Henrys in English history, but they'll gladly follow the Targaryen dynasty.

    History was my minor in college. I don't pretend to be a historian. Modern historians are interested in sociopolitical trends. I'm not interested in that. I'm interested in the stories. History is written in blood, a gold mine – the kings, the princes, the generals and the whores, and all the betrayals and wars and confidences. It's better than 90 percent of what the fantasists do make up.

    It's a shockingly brutal story that you tell. The first major jolt comes when the knight Jaime Lannister pushes a child, Bran Stark, through a window because the child witnessed Jaime and Jaime's sister, Cersei – the wife of Westeros' King Robert – having sex. That moment grabs you by the throat.

    I've had a million people tell me that was the moment that hooked them, where they said, "Well, this is just not the same story I read a million times before." Bran is the first viewpoint character. In the back of their heads, people are thinking Bran is the hero of the story. He's young King Arthur. We're going to follow this young boy – and then, boom: You don't expect something like that to happen to him. So that was successful [laughs].

    Both Jaime and Cersei are clearly despicable in those moments. Later, though, we see a more humane side of Jaime when he rescues a woman, who had been an enemy, from rape. All of a sudden we don't know what to feel about Jaime.
    One of the things I wanted to explore with Jaime, and with so many of the characters, is the whole issue of redemption. When can we be redeemed? Is redemption even possible? I don't have an answer. But when do we forgive people? You see it all around in our society, in constant debates. Should we forgive Michael Vick? I have friends who are dog-lovers who will never forgive Michael Vick. Michael Vick has served years in prison; he's apologized. Has he apologized sufficiently? Woody Allen: Is Woody Allen someone that we should laud, or someone that we should despise? Or Roman Polanski, Paula Deen. Our society is full of people who have fallen in one way or another, and what do we do with these people? How many good acts make up for a bad act? If you're a Nazi war criminal and then spend the next 40 years doing good deeds and feeding the hungry, does that make up for being a concentration-camp guard? I don't know the answer, but these are questions worth thinking about. I want there to be a possibility of redemption for us, because we all do terrible things. We should be able to be forgiven. Because if there is no possibility of redemption, what's the answer then? [Martin pauses for a moment.] You've read the books?


    Who kills Joffrey?

    That killing happens early in this fourth season. The books, of course, are well past the poisoning of King Joffrey.
    In the books – and I make no promises, because I have two more books to write, and I may have more surprises to reveal – the conclusion that the careful reader draws is that Joffrey was killed by the Queen of Thorns, using poison from Sansa's hairnet, so that if anyone did think it was poison, then Sansa would be blamed for it. Sansa had certainly good reason for it.

    The reason I bring this up is because that's an interesting question of redemption. That's more like killing Hitler. Does the Queen of Thorns need redemption? Did the Queen of Thorns kill Hitler, or did she murder a 13-year-old boy? Or both? She had good reasons to remove Joffrey. Is it a case where the end justifies the means? I don't know. That's what I want the reader or viewer to wrestle with, and to debate.

    I don't know if somebody like Jaime or Cersei can be redeemed. Cersei's a great character – she's like Lady Macbeth.
    Well, redeemed in whose eyes? She'll never be redeemed in the eyes of some. She's a character who's very protective of her children. You can argue, well, does she genuinely love her children, or does she just love them because they're her children? There's certainly a great level of narcissism in Cersei. She has an almost sociopathic view of the world and civilization. At the same time, what Jaime did is interesting. I don't have any kids myself, but I've talked with other people who have. Remember, Jaime isn't just trying to kill Bran because he's an annoying little kid. Bran has seen something that is basically a death sentence for Jaime, for Cersei, and their children – their three actual children. So I've asked people who do have children, "Well, what would you do in Jaime's situation?" They say, "Well, I'm not a bad guy – I wouldn't kill." Are you sure? Never? If Bran tells King Robert he's going to kill you and your sister-lover, and your three children. . . .

    Then many of them hesitate. Probably more people than not would say, "Yeah, I would kill someone else's child to save my own child, even if that other child was innocent." These are the difficult decisions people make, and they're worth examining.

    By contrast, when Ned Stark beheads the Night Watchman, and later, when Ned's son Robb beheads another man, those killings take a toll on the two Starks. It's not easy for them to do it. It weighs on them.
    As it should, I think. Taking human life should always be a very serious thing. There's something very close up about the Middle Ages. You're taking a sharp piece of steel and hacking at someone's head, and you're getting spattered with his blood, and you're hearing his screams. In some ways maybe it's more brutal that we've insulated ourselves from that. We're setting up mechanisms where we can kill human beings with drones and missiles where you're sitting at a console and pressing the button. We never have to hear their whimpering, or hear them begging for their mother, or dying in horrible realities around us. I don't know if that's necessarily such a good thing. You see this same moral struggle all through history. It's always the question, when you're at war, do you do whatever it takes to win, or do you actually maintain your own moral standard and ideals? Should we be waterboarding people? What if we get valuable information that saves our lives? Well, even so, aren't we compromising ourselves? But if it prevents another 9/11, is torture worth it? I don't know, but it's a question worth asking. Do you commit horrible crimes to stay alive so your side should win?

    A major concern in A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones is power. Almost everybody – except maybe Daenerys, across the waters with her dragons – wields power badly.
    Ruling is hard. This was maybe my answer to Tolkien, whom, as much as I admire him, I do quibble with. Lord of the Rings had a very medieval philosophy: that if the king was a good man, the land would prosper. We look at real history and it's not that simple. Tolkien can say that Aragorn became king and reigned for a hundred years, and he was wise and good. But Tolkien doesn't ask the question: What was Aragorn's tax policy? Did he maintain a standing army? What did he do in times of flood and famine? And what about all these orcs? By the end of the war, Sauron is gone but all of the orcs aren't gone – they're in the mountains. Did Aragorn pursue a policy of systematic genocide and kill them? Even the little baby orcs, in their little orc cradles?

    In real life, real-life kings had real-life problems to deal with. Just being a good guy was not the answer. You had to make hard, hard decisions. Sometimes what seemed to be a good decision turned around and bit you in the ass; it was the law of unintended consequences. I've tried to get at some of these in my books. My people who are trying to rule don't have an easy time of it. Just having good intentions doesn't make you a wise king.

    Sometimes people read what happens in these books and they wonder how these fates befall your characters – such as when Ned Stark is beheaded. He's the moral compass, and then he's gone.
    Well, that was my intent. I knew right from the beginning that Ned wasn't going to survive. Both as a writer and as a reader I like stories that surprise me. Hitchcock's Psycho has tremendous impact because Janet Leigh is the movie's star: She's stealing, traveling across country – are the cops going to get her? – and all that. The next thing is, she's being knifed in the shower – you're only 40 minutes into the movie. What the hell is happening? The star just died! After that, you really don't know what the hell is going to happen. It's great; I loved that. That's what I was going for with Ned: The protector who was keeping it all together is swept off the board. So that makes it much more suspenseful. Jeopardy is really there.

    That jeopardy prevails more than ever now, after the ending of the third season and the slaughter of Ned's wife, Catelyn, and his eldest son, Robb, the King of the North.
    The more I write about a character, the more affection I feel . . . even for the worst of them. Which doesn't mean I won't kill them. Whoever it was who said "Kill your darlings" was referring to his favorite lines in a story, but it's just as true for characters. The moment the reader begins to believe that a character is protected by the magical cloak of authorial immunity, tension goes out the window. The Red Wedding was tremendously hard to write. I skipped over it until I finished the entirety of A Storm of Swords, then I went back and forced myself to write that chapter. I loved those characters too much. But I knew it had to be done. The TV Red Wedding is even worse than the book, of course, because [GoT creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] turned it up to 11 by bringing in Talisa, pregnant with Robb's child, none of which happened in the book. So we get a pregnant woman stabbed repeatedly in the belly.

    We talked earlier about your unwillingness to fight in Vietnam. The Ice and Fire books are shot through with the horrors of war. As Ygritte says to Jon Snow, "We're just soldiers in their armies, and there's plenty more to carry on if we go down."
    It's true in virtually all wars through history. Shakespeare refers to it, in those great scenes in Henry V, where King Hal is walking among the men, before the Battle of Agincourt, and he hears the men complaining. "Well, I hope his cause is just, because a lot of us are going to die to make him king of France." One of the central questions in the book is Varys' riddle: The rich man, the priest and the king give an order to a common sellsword. Each one says kill the other two. So who has the power? Is it the priest, who supposedly speaks for God? The king, who has the power of state? The rich man, who has the gold? Of course, doesn't the swordsman have the power? He's the one with the sword – he could kill all three if he wanted. Or he could listen to anyone. But he's just the average grunt. If he doesn't do what they say, then they each call other swordsmen who will do what they say. But why does anybody do what they say? This is the fundamental mystery of power and leadership and war through all history. Going back to Vietnam, for me the cognitive dissonance came in when I realized that Ho Chi Minh actually wasn't Sauron. Do you remember the poster during that time? WHAT IF THEY GAVE A WAR AND NOBODY CAME? That's one of the fundamental questions here. Why did anybody go to Vietnam? Were the people who went more patriotic? Were they braver? Were they stupider? Why does anybody go? What's all this based on? It's all based on an illusion: You go because you're afraid of what will happen if you don't go, even if you don't believe in it. But where do these systems of obedience come from? Why do we recognize power instead of individual autonomy? These questions are fascinating to me. It's all this strange illusion, isn't it?

    You're a congenial man, yet these books are incredibly violent. Does that ever feel at odds with these views about power and war?

    The war that Tolkien wrote about was a war for the fate of civilization and the future of humanity, and that's become the template. I'm not sure that it's a good template, though. The Tolkien model led generations of fantasy writers to produce these endless series of dark lords and their evil minions who are all very ugly and wear black clothes. But the vast majority of wars throughout history are not like that. World War I is much more typical of the wars of history than World War II – the kind of war you look back afterward and say, "What the hell were we fighting for? Why did all these millions of people have to die? Was it really worth it to get rid of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, that we wiped out an entire generation, and tore up half the continent? Was the War of 1812 worth fighting? The Spanish-American War? What the hell were these people fighting for?"

    There's only a few wars that are really worth what they cost. I was born three years after the end of World War II. You want to be the hero. You want to stand up, whether you're Spider-Man fighting the Green Goblin, or the American saving the world from the Nazis. It's sad to say, but I do think there are things worth fighting for. Men are still capable of great heroism. But I don't necessarily think there are heroes. That's something that's very much in my books: I believe in great characters. We're all capable of doing great things, and of doing bad things. We have the angels and the demons inside of us, and our lives are a succession of choices. Look at a figure like Woodrow Wilson, one of the most fascinating presidents in American history. He was despicable on racial issues. He was a Southern segregationist of the worst stripe, praising D.W. Griffith and The Birth of a Nation. He effectively was a Ku Klux Klan supporter. But in terms of foreign affairs, and the League of Nations, he had one of the great dreams of our time. The war to end all wars – we make fun of it now, but God, it was an idealistic dream. If he'd been able to achieve it, we'd be building statues of him a hundred feet high, and saying, "This was the greatest man in human history: This was the man who ended war." He was a racist who tried to end war. Now, does one cancel out the other? Well, they don't cancel out the other. You can't make him a hero or a villain. He was both. And we're all both.

    The Red Wedding, upon broadcast, became the most infamously shocking scene in TV history. It angered a lot of the people who watched it.

    It did so in the books too. In 2000, when the book came out, I got tons of letters from people: "I'm so angry with you – I'm never going to read your work again. I threw the book into the fire, then a week later I had to know what happens, so I went out and bought another copy." Some people were so horrified that they said they will not read any more of my work. I understand that.

    Those characters mattered – the readers took them seriously, couldn't bear those fates. One letter I got was from a woman, a waitress. She wrote me: "I work hard all day, I'm divorced, I have a couple of children. My life is very hard, and my one pleasure is I come home and I read fantasy, and I escape to other worlds. Then I read your book, and God, it was ****ing horrifying. I don't read for this. This is a nightmare. Why would you do this to me?" That letter actually reached me. I wrote her back and basically said, "I'm sorry; I do understand where you're coming from." Some people do read . . . I don't like to use the word escape, because escapism has such a pejorative aspect, but it takes you to another world. Maybe it is escape. Reading fiction has helped me through some bad times in my own life. The night my father died, I was in Michigan and I got word from my mother. I couldn't get to a plane until the next day, so I sat around thinking about my father, the good and the bad in our relationship. I remember I opened whatever book I was reading, and for a few hours, I was able to stop thinking about my father's death. It was a relief. There are some people who read and want to believe in a world where the good guys win and the bad guys lose, and at the end they live happily ever after. That's not the kind of fiction that I write. Tolkien was not that. The scouring of the Shire proved that. Frodo's sadness – that was a bittersweet ending, which to my mind was far more powerful than the ending of Star Wars, where all the happy Ewoks are jumping around, and the ghosts of all the dead people appear, waving happily [laughs]. But I understand where the other people are coming from. There are a lot of books out there. Let everyone find the kind of book that speaks to them, and speaks to what they need emotionally.

    Early on, one critic described the TV series as bleak and embodying a nihilistic worldview, another bemoaned its "lack of moral signposts." Have you ever worried that there's some validity to that criticism?

    No. That particular criticism is completely invalid. Actually, I think it's moronic. My worldview is anything but nihilistic.

    Some of your most contemptible characters are also among the story's greatest truth-tellers. One of the most riveting moments in the TV series took place in the Battle of Blackwater episode, which you wrote the script for, when Sandor says to Sansa, "The world was built by killers, so you'd better get used to looking at them."
    Truth is sometimes hard to hear. Two of the central phrases are true, but they are not truths that most human beings like to contemplate. Winter is coming and Valar morghulis – all men must die. Mortality is the inescapable truth of all life . . . and of all stories, too.

    This story is from the May 8th, 2014 issue of Rolling Stone.


    Active Member
    DJ E-Z Rock of 'It Takes Two' fame dead at 46

    Rodney Bryce, who made his mark on hip-hop under the name DJ E-Z Rock, died Sunday, a spokesperson for Bryce's friend and collaborator Rob Base confirmed to Rolling Stone. The cause of death has yet to be revealed.

    Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock released their first single, "DJ Interview," in 1986, but the 46-year-old Bryce cemented himself into the hip-hop canon with 1988's iconic track "It Takes Two." Produced by Teddy Riley and built around a vocal sample from Lyn Collins' 1972 hit "Think (About It)," the song blended hip-hop with house music and became a nationwide hit, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Songs chart and helping to lift rap into the pop consciousness. The track would later be sampled by Snoop Dogg, Gang Starr, Girl Talk and South Korean girl group 2NE1, among many others, and has long become a pop culture staple, appearing in everything from the soundtrack to the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to a scene in Sandra Bullock's 2009 romantic comedy "The Proposal."

    More from RollingStone: 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time: Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two"

    Questlove included the track on his Top 50 Hip Hop Songs of All Time for Rolling Stone, singling out James Brown drummer John "Jabo" Starks' work for the Brown-produced "Think." "Jabo's sparse, all-on-the-one funk was more at home with conservative soul lovers, which is why it makes total sense that... Jabo was the anchor of the New Jack Swing movement," wrote the Roots drummer. "Jabo's go-to magnum opus was on the five-break-filled JB-produced 'Think (About It)' by Lyn Collins. James' holy ghost yelp almost threatens to upstage Starks' show, but it's Starks' steady glide that gave R&B music its blueprint some 15 years after its release."

    The duo released two other singles from their debut album --"Joy and Pain" and "Get on the Dance Floor"--but "It Takes Two" would be the standout single off the group's debut album of the same name. The album was certified platinum in 1989 and reached No. 31 on the Billboard 200, an impressive feat for a hip-hop album at the time.

    Bryce would not appear on Rob Base's 1989 follow-up "The Incredible Base," but reunited with the rapper for 1994's "Break of Dawn."

    Rob Base and E-Z Rock both grew up in Harlem, becoming friends in the fourth grade. "Back then, there were other groups and we used to see other people perform," E-Z Rock told Pennsylvania newspaper The Morning Call in 1991. "I bought a set of turntables and he bought a mic."

    As E-Z Rock recalled, the duo sent "It Takes Two" to hip-hop label Profile Records and received a call from the label the next day. "At first, it was kind of weird because we only had one record," Rock said of the group's first hit "Make It Hot." "We would open up for people and get on for 15 minutes doing that one song. Then, when 'It Takes Two' came out, we started headlining."

    Speaking to The Boombox in 2011, Base was asked about the group's pop- and R&B-influenced sound. "Well, I know definitely I was one of the first artists to do the hip-hop and R&B thing," said Base. "When we did it, I just wanted to do something different. I didn't want to do the same thing that the other groups were doing at the time. So we just did it that way and I really didn't care what people said. There were a few groups that were saying, 'Oh, you're selling out. You're this, you're that.' And I look at them now and they can't even get one show."

    Various hip-hop artists paid condolences to the DJ on social media. DJ Scratch posted a late-Eighties picture of the duo on his Instagram, while Biz Markie tweeted, "R.I.P. to EZ Rock from Rob Base and EZ Rock. You will truly be missed." DJ Red Alert tweeted, "We Have Lost Our Very Own From Harlem NYC & The Hip-Hop Culture Our Brother DJ E-Z Rock. Rest In Peace..." and Base himself posted a picture on his Instagram with a picture of Bryce and the message "R.I.Power DJ EZ Rock. Team Fearless Salute."

    source music.msn


    Active Member
    Max Clifford guilty: Simon Cowell is first high profile client to disassociate himself from publicist after he is ‘horrified’ at teenage sexual assault verdict

    Simon Cowell has reportedly washed his hands of his PR advisor Max Clifford, after the publicist was found guilty of eight counts of sexual assault on women as young as 15.

    Clifford has represented Cowell for over a decade as his spokesperson, and is one of the key figures behind shaping the music mogul’s ‘cruel to be kind’ public image.

    However, the pair are thought to have finally parted company following Clifford’s guilty verdict, which was delivered at Southwark Crown Court yesterday.

    A source close to Cowell has allegedly since told The Sun that the X Factor boss was “horrified” by the revelations made during Clifford’s three-week sexual assault trial, and has decided to distance himself from the former PR man.

    A Syco spokesperson for Cowell, who first hired Clifford in 2001 when he became a judge on Pop Idol, has since confirmed that he is no longer working with the publicist.

    However, Clifford’s company website, Max Clifford Associates, are still using a bannered image of Cowell to advertise its services.

    “Clifford's unique combination of protection and publicity helped cement [Cowell's] place as one of the world's most successful music/TV moguls in the world,” reads the slogan.

    It also prominently features a photograph of Clifford with Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, who is now listed as a past client.

    Yesterday, it was reported that Clifford, who talked up his charitable work during his trial, was no longer the patron of two organisations – Shooting Star Chase children’s hospices and Woking and Sam Beare Hopices. Both hospices have since confirmed the news.

    The Only Way Is Essex star Lauren Goodger, one of few still listed among Max Clifford Associates’ ‘Current Clients’ list, has since also removed the mention of the company website from her social media profiles.

    Dragon’s Den judge and business mogul Theo Paphitis is yet to make his relationship with Max Clifford Associates clear: his lingerie company, Boux Avenue, has long been represented by the firm. As are the Chinese Three Tenors, model Lilah Parsons and entrepreneur David Fishwick, a self-made multi-millionaire.

    Of course, the irony of one of the world’s most renowned spokespeople, who for years was relied upon to cover up the sexual indiscretions of his clients, failing to mask his own is not lost: truly the worst publicity any recognisable figure can afford is to be associated with a convicted sex offender.

    "I've been telling lies on behalf of people, businessmen, politicians and countries for 40 years,” he told a wide-eyed audience at a PR Week debate in 2007.

    "It shouldn't be necessary, but it is. I'd rather be honest, but I cannot be all the time. The only mantra I work to is that your duty is to your client.

    "I lie on behalf of a cross-dressing MP, a prominent businessman who is having an affair with a man, and a gay footballer. Always the aim is to keep their identity out of the press.

    "I'm proud I've been able to do it. There's only been one footballer who was revealed to be gay, and he hanged himself. I know the ruin that will befall these people if news gets out. Here, the truth is destructive - I lie because there is no choice."

    The odds would certainly suggest we could be set to see more famous faces rushing to disassociate themselves from the man they once trusted to lie for them as his sentence is delivered on Friday.

    source independent