Google+ Followers

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The real Jane Austen

A BBC documentary produced in 2002 and directed by Nicky Patterson. The narrator Anne Chancellor is related to Jane Austen herself and played the part of Caroline Bingley in BBC' s "Pride and Prejudice" (1995).










Tuesday, 29 January 2013

McNamara Surfing a 100 foot wave on 1-29-2013 in Nazaré - Portugal


"The Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara is said to have broken his own world record for the largest wave surfed when he caught a wave reported to be around 100ft off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal.

If the claims are verified, it will mean that McNamara, who was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts but whose family moved to Hawaii's North Shore when he was aged 11, has beaten his previous record, which was also set at Nazaré.

When McNamara set that record in 2011, he was accompanied by fellow big-wave surfers Andrew Cotton and Alastair Mennie and at the time Mennie said that the conditions were "perfect" for McNamara whom he described as "inspiring".

"Everything was perfect, the weather, the waves," Mennie said. "Cotty and I surfed two big waves of about 60ft and then, when Garrett was ready came a canyon wave of over 90ft. The jet ski was the best place to see him riding the biggest wave I've ever seen. It was amazing. Most people would be scared but Garrett was controlling everything in the critical part of the wave. It was an inspiring ride by an inspiring surfer."

Speaking to the Observer in 2011 after his record-setting 90ft ride, McNamara explained: "We'd been invited by the government of Portugal to Nazaré to investigate it for a big wave competition. There is an underwater canyon 1,000ft deep that runs from the ocean right up to the cliffs. It's like a funnel. At its ocean end it's three miles wide but narrows as it gets closer to the shore and when there is a big swell it acts like an amplifier.

"The harbour where the jetskis are kept is about five minutes' ride away. I can see it from my hotel window. You go out and it can be almost flat as you leave and ride along the coast. You start seeing the waves after about half a mile when you pass some rocks and turn a point. Then you are in the break. It's unique. The waves break into cliffs 300ft in height. You can't contemplate coming off because it would kill you."

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice celebrates 200th anniversary


Jane Austen published Pride and Prejudice 200 years ago. No one could have known at the time that two centuries later the novel would still occupy a solid place in popular culture, and be a confirmed money-spinner for publishers. Edward Baran reports.

REPORTER: Two centuries old, and still a global hit. Two hundred years ago, the public first got their hands on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The initial edition of the English author's novel appeared on January 28, 1813. At the Jane Austen House Museum in Hampshire in southern England, where the author once lived, her writing table and handwritten letters are on display alongside a first edition of the book. Museum curator Louise West says it's still influential. 

LOUISE WEST: "I don't think you'd say it was even her greatest novel, but it is certainly her most popular one. And it encompasses all that's great about the other novels in the groundbreaking work that Jane Austen was doing in transforming the novel of the eighteenth century into a novel very much like the ones we read today." 

REPORTER: Austen's works are now out of copyright which means that anyone can publish them. That, plus the fact that they can be published digitally for free, means it's impossible to accurately track sales and downloads. But all the indications are this book's still doing very well. And it's still a money-spinner for publishers, says Helen Conford from Penguin Books, which prints many English classics. 

HELEN CONFORD, PENGUIN BOOKS: "She sells incredibly well. If you look at her inside Penguin Classics with George Orwell, Shakespeare, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Dickens, she's really number one." 

REPORTER: Last year in the UK appoximately 50,000 copies of Pride and Prejudice were sold. While in the US it's estimated 135,000 copies were snapped up. That's compared to an initial print run of just 1,500 copies in 1813. CEO of the Publishers Association, Richard Mollet, says Austen's themes of marriage, money, class and love are universal. 

RICHARD MOLLET, CEO, PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION: "We can see in characters like the Bennets and like the Dashwoods, we can imagine their equivalents in the modern day and that's what makes them so engaging." 

REPORTER: The film and TV adaptations have been many and varied. Even Bollywood fell in love with the tale in 2004 with its adaptation Bride and Prejudice. This year Austenland will be released -- a comedy about a young women obsessed with the book. And that should secure the novel a new generation of fans.



Still got it: Elizabeth Bennet, played by Jennifer Ehle, and Mr Darcy, by Colin Firth, in the 1995 TV series of Pride and Prejudice
They say there are two main love stories that run through every successful book, film, play, song in the world: the first is boy meets girl, they hate each other, but over time and through revelation, they realised they are in fact perfect for each other. The second is boy meets girl, they fall in love at first sight, but due to cruel circumstance they are separated, only to be passionately reunited at the end.
One of the keys to the enduring success of Pride and Prejudice is that it has both these classic stories running side by side, in the form of Darcy and Elizabeth, and Bingley and Jane.










“No one chooses to eat garbage”, especially not college students

“While most vending machines are filled with tempting treats like chips, candy and chocolate bars, this machine houses synthetic waste, including moldy foods, rotting fruit and half-eaten snacks, to disrupt everyday notions of choice and availability. The vending machine reminds passersby that although no one chooses to eat garbage, it’s an everyday reality for many Canadians.”
Naturally, the best bit of any temporary placement like this is the highlights video to be shared online! Salvation Army has just shared one that captures students’ reactions to the unexpected items available inside the machine.
Don’t worry, the machine doesn’t actually dispense garbage! Staff and students could only make a donation to the Salvation Army by dropping coins into the slot.
The vending machine was part of a larger “Simple Dreams” campaign aiming to “educate a younger demographic, that typically wouldn’t donate financially to the organization, about Canada’s hunger tragedy.”

Friday, 25 January 2013

The Queen's Palaces - Holyroodhouse


Britain's least well-known royal palace and yet probably the most romantic, Edinburgh's Palace of Holyroodhouse sits in the shadow of the dormant volcano Arthur's Seat. 

It is also one of Britain's smallest palaces and yet events at Holyrood have determined the fate of three countries - England, France and Scotland. It was also the last place where a royal prince challenged the right of an English king to sit on the throne. 
Fiona Bruce discovers remarkable objects from the Royal Collection that are intimately bound to the Palace's turbulent history - from the spectacular Darnley Jewel with its many hidden messages to the cat-and-mouse needlework of a doomed queen.







Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Queen's Palaces - Windsor Castle

Fiona Bruce visits Windsor Castle, the world's oldest and largest inhabited castle, dating back to the 11th century. Taking more than a thousand years to reach its familiar look, it has been a fortress, a home to medieval chivalry, a baroque palace, and finally a romantic fantasy. From the bowels of the Castle to the heights of the battlements, Fiona encounters all manner of royal treasures - from the musket ball that killed a naval hero to table decorations in gold and silver and encrusted with jewels; from the triple-headed portrait of a king who lost his head to Queen Mary's Dolls' House with running taps, and a secret garden hidden in a drawer. All of this was almost lost in the disastrous fire of 1992.


 


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Queen's Palaces - Buckingham Palace


The Queen has three official residences - the best known, Buckingham Palace; the oldest, Windsor Castle; and the most romantic, Palace of Holyroodhouse. Among the few working royal palaces in the world today, they serve as both family homes and as the setting for the business of Monarchy. Each has its own distinctive story - long histories that reflect good and bad times, triumph and tragedy and, of course, the lives of some of our most memorable kings and queens. But they all share certain features - incredible collections of treasures that reflect both the tastes of their occupants and the artistic development of the nation, and architecture that has evolved across the centuries to meet the needs of different ages, reflecting the story of Britain and its people like no other buildings.


Buckingham Palace may be just about the most famous building in the world, but its story is much less familiar. Fiona Bruce reveals how England's most spectacular palace emerged from a swampy backwater in just 300 years. The journey of discovery takes her from the sewers of London to the magnificent State Rooms; from a home for camels and elephants to the artistic brilliance of C18th-century Venice; and from a prince's Chinese fantasy to the secret of how the Palace's glittering chandeliers are cleaned today.




Monday, 21 January 2013

Friday, 11 January 2013

The first portrait of The Duchess of Cambridge is unveiled


The first official painted portrait of The Duchess of Cambridge has been commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, where it is unveiled today Friday 11 January 2013.

The National Portrait Gallery's painting of its Patron was commissioned with the support of Sir Hugh Leggatt, in memory of Sir Denis Mahon, through the Art Fund.

The Duchess was involved in the selection process, from which artist Paul Emsley, the 2007 winner of the Gallery's BP Portrait Award competition, was chosen by Director Sandy Nairne to paint her official portrait.

The Duchess took part in an initial meeting to talk through the process of the painting. This was followed by two sittings, in May and June 2012, at the artist's studio in the West Country, England, and Kensington Palace. Emsley later made use of a series of photographs produced during the sittings. His subjects are frequently located against a dark background and emphasise 'the singularity and silence of the form'; while utilising a meticulous technique of thin layers of oil paint and glazes.

Paul Emsley says: 'The Duchess explained that she would like to be portrayed naturally - her natural self - as opposed to her official self. She struck me as enormously open and generous and a very warm person. After initially feeling it was going to be an unsmiling portrait I think it was the right choice in the end to have her smiling - that is really who she is.'

Following three-and-a-half months of painting, the completed portrait was presented to the Gallery's Trustees at their November 2012 meeting.