Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

1812 – 1870 Early Years Charles Dickens was born at Landport, now a great town, but then a little suburb of Portsmouth, or Portsea, lying half a mile outside of the town walls. The date of his birth was Friday, February 7, 1812. His father was John Dickens, a clerk in the navy pay-office, and at that time attached to the Portsmouth dockyard. The familiarity which the novelist shows with sea-ports and sailors is not, however, due to his birthplace, because his father, in the year 1814, was recalled to London, and in 1816 went to Chatham. They still show the room in the dockyard where the elder Dickens worked, and where his son often came to visit him. The family lived in Ordnance Place, Chatham, and the boy was sent to a school kept in Gibraltar Place, New Road, by one William Giles. As a child he is said to have been a great reader, and very early began to attempt original writing. In 1821, Charles being then nine years of age, the family fell into trouble; reforms in the Admiralty deprived the father of his post, and the greater part of his income. They had to leave Chatham and removed to London, where a mean house in a shabby street of Camden Town received them. But not for long. The unfortunate father was presently arrested for debt and consigned to the Marshalsea, and Charles, then only ten years of age, and small for his age, was placed in a blacking factory at Hungerford Market, where all he could do was to put the labels on the blacking-bottles,...
Michael Jackson – Thriller

Michael Jackson – Thriller

One of the top selling albums of all time, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, was released November 30, 1982. The recording of the album began at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles on April 14, 1982. When Quincy Jones walked into the studio, he said to some of the others involved in the recording, ‘OK guys, we’re going to save the recording industry’. At 12:00 noon the actual recording began with Paul McCartney and Micheal singing ‘The Girl is Mine’. The album spent 37 weeks at number one on the Billboard charts. Thriller consisted of nine tracks, seven of which were released as singles. All seven reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Michael indicated that his inspiration for the album was Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker Suite’ because ‘every song was a killer’. Listen on Spotify:Thriller Backgrounds on some of the songs: Beat It Beat It was written by Jackson and was an attempt to make a clean break with the disco sound of Jackson’s Off the Wall album. Quincy Jones and Jackson wanted to make a rock song that would appeal to all tastes, and after weeks of searching for a guitarist, found Eddie Van Halen. Van Halen would later say about the recording ‘Everybody (from Van Halen) was out of town and I figured, who’s going to know if I play on this kid’s record?’ Billie Jean Michael wrote this song with a particular obsessed fan in mind. The most persistant of his admirers he received dozens of letters from her, including one with a gun and a note indicating that since she and her child (which she...
Miölnir – Thor’s Hammer

Miölnir – Thor’s Hammer

Thor was the proud possessor of a magic hammer called Miölnir (the crusher) which he hurled at his enemies, the frost-giants, with destructive power, and which possessed the wonderful property of always returning to his hand, however far away he might hurl it. “I am the Thunderer! Here in my Northland, My fastness and fortress, Reign I forever! “Here amid icebergs Rule I the nations; This is my hammer, Miölnir the mighty; Giants and sorcerers Cannot withstand it!” Saga of King Olaf (Longfellow). As this huge hammer, the emblem of the thunderbolts, was generally red-hot, the god had an iron gauntlet called Iarn-greiper, which enabled him to grasp it firmly. He could hurl Miölnir a great distance, and his strength, which was always remarkable, was doubled when he wore his magic belt called Megin-giörd. “This is my girdle: Whenever I brace it, Strength is redoubled!” Saga of King Olaf (Longfellow). Thor’s hammer was considered so very sacred by the ancient Northern people, that they were wont to make the sign of the hammer, as the Christians later taught them to make the sign of the cross, to ward off all evil influences, and to secure blessings. The same sign was also made over the newly born infant when water was poured over its head and a name given. The hammer was used to drive in boundary stakes, which it was considered sacrilegious to remove, to hallow the threshold of a new house, to solemnise a marriage, and, lastly, it played a part in the consecration of the funeral pyre upon which the bodies of heroes, together with their weapons...