Sunday, May 21, 2017

The King: Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley was born on 8th January 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was the only child of a Christian working-class family. He received his first guitar at the age of 11. When he was 13 years old, they moved to Memphis, Tennessee. Elvis had a very close bond with his mother so, in 1958, when she became ill and died a few days later, Elvis was devastated. 

What aspects of Elvis’ career made him so famous and even “immortal”?


First of all, many of his songs are never-ending classics. The genres Elvis sang were rock-and-roll, pop, blues, country, gospel, rockabilly and R&B. But he did not write most of his songs himself. He did write a couple though, such as "You'll be gone", which was the last song he wrote. “Can't Help Falling in Love” (blues) is one of his most famous love songs. “Jailhouse Rock” (rock-and-roll) was used for a movie that takes place in a prison. “Always On My Mind” was originally a country song written by Wayne Carson and his band, which Elvis covered. 

video
  "Can't help falling in love "

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    "Jailhouse Rock"

                           
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    "Always On My Mind"

Secondly, Elvis was seen as a sex symbol because he was good-looking and his performances were charismatic. 


The wild haircut, known as “La Banane”, was part of the persona he developed. An interesting fact is that the charming, dark-haired man we know used to have blond locks.
Despite his achievements as a singer, Elvis’ dream was to become a motion-picture actor. Still, he was never considered as a real actor because he always had a singing part in the films he made. Love me tender, his most famous movie, is a family drama.

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"Love me tender"

Elvis’ career had its ups-and-downs. The songs he released in 1967 and 1968 were not very popular. In 1968, Elvis negotiated to make a Christmas special. It was Elvis’ first live performance after 7 years of absence. 


During his life, The King, as was his nickname, won three Grammy awards for gospel music. He is still regarded as one of the most important figures in the popular culture of the 20th century.

Furthermore, Elvis entered the U.S. Army in 1958 and was sent to Germany after his training. He stayed in the army until 1960, when he was discharged. 

Elvis had good memories of his military service in Germany because that is where he met Priscilla Beaulieu, the love of his life, when she was only 14. They married in 1967 in Las Vegas. Nine months later, she gave birth to their daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. Unfortunately, they divorced in 1973 and his health started to deteriorate due to his drug intake. He had drug problems, problems of obesity and an enlarged colon. He died of cardiac arrhythmia on 16th August 1978 at the age of 42. At the end of his life he weighed 102 kg. At the autopsy, the forensics found traces of 14 different medicines in his blood. His gravestone is in the garden of his house, Graceland, and can be seen by tourists.



Elisa Etienne, Morgane Lemaitre, and Ophélie Malcolm


Sources : 


Hot Toddy

Hot toddy


Spring is soon to come. Birds are singing and the sun is peeking through the clouds more and more often. But before the sun decides to stay with us permanently and before the weather starts to be warm, we all have some more cold days to get through. Which means that some of us might still catch a cold during those few days. Most of you will then turn to your local pharmacist for medicine. There is a better solution; of course it is the hot toddy. This warm drink has been curing many bouts of flu and colds for decades. Medicine usually helps you get some sleep, which is essential when you want to heal from a cold. Well, a hot toddy not only helps you get to sleep, but also prevents you from being groggy in the morning. When you thought it did not have any more advantages, here are some more: the hot toddy is a natural remedy, plus it helps fight infections in your body. What more could we ask for?
Nowadays, people drink the hot toddy warm, as indicated by its name. But it was not always the case. This famous drink was once drunk cold. Where does the hot toddy come from and what are the origins of its name?

History of the drink and the name

There are many different theories about the origins of the hot toddy. Of course, a lot of them are more absurd than others. We will focus on the more plausible and popular one as the true origins are a big mystery.
The word toddy gets its origin from the early seventeenth century. It comes from the Hindi word tārī. It was a drink. The fermented sap from many toddy palms was used to make this drink. The British discovered it and could not stop drinking it. Eventually, they continued to spread it and made it their own. At the time, the toddy was different from the hot toddy we know today and it was drunk cold. A different version from the toddy that made its way across the ocean to America was called bombo or bimbo. It was made out of rum, local sugar and local spices.
When did the toddy become warm then? In Scotland, the population started to add warm water to the toddy to use it as a remedy for a cold. That is where the hot toddy as we know it today gets its origin from. Of course, Scottish people did not only drink the hot toddy when they came down with a cold, but that was its first purpose.
By the middle of the nineteenth century, the hot toddy was considered as THE cure for a cold. It was even considered as a “cure-all” in the Burlington free press in 1837, according to the VinePair website.

Other theories on the name

We have mentioned earlier that there were many origins attributed to the name of hot toddy. Here are a few of them:
  • In the eighteenth century, pubs became very popular in Western Europe, especially around the city of Edinburgh, which is the capital of Scotland. There, they supposedly served scotch with warm water coming from Tod’s Well. The word toddy should then be derived from the name Tod, which gave the drink its name. Spices were soon to be added to make the drink more drinkable for women.
  • This next theory is more of a legend, as we cannot confirm that this really happened and that the name gets its origin here. Apparently, in the middle of the nineteenth century, a physician named Robert Bentley Todd, who worked in Dublin, used to heel his patients by giving them a mixture of brandy, sugar and hot water. People assumed that the name came from him.
  • Another legend states that in America during the revolutionary war, colonists used to drink a toddy to bring them courage. The only difference with the Scottish toddy is that they used rum or brandy instead of whiskey.
It is very likely that the name hot toddy gets its origin in a mixture of these theories or that they are linked in some way. Perhaps the physician heard of the drink and started prescribing it to his patients.

Recipes

We have been talking about the hot toddy for a little while now, but how is a toddy actually made? Is there a basic recipe to follow?
Of course, because the hot toddy is so famous, there are many variations of the drink and different ways to make it. Here is however the most simple and most common recipe to make a hot toddy. You will only need a few ingredients:
  • some kind of whiskey
  • warm water or warm tea
  • regular sugar or brown sugar
  • spices such as nutmeg or cloves
  • lemon
Now let’s take a look at some variations of the basic recipe.

  • The Yule Tide Toddy. This version of the drink adds maple syrup and a lot of cinnamon to the basic recipe. It makes it sweeter and therefore, impossible to let go off. Garnished with cinnamon sticks, it will be a pleasure for your mouth.
  • The Mexican Buttered Toddy. This kind of toddy is a “punch-in-your-face” kind of drink. It is very strong. In fact, the basic hot toddy is mixed with cocoa-infused tequila and buttered batter. This drink has a creamy texture thanks to the butter.
  • The Zen Chai Toddy. This toddy involves many kinds of tea including zen green tea and black tea. Added to this mixture, the Chai spices, which are made out of cardamom. This drink also has more of a creamy feeling than the others.
  • Chamomile Toddy. This kind has more fruit and sweetness to it because of the orange slice, the lemon juice, the honey and the chamomile that are added to it.
  • The Beale End All. Rum, sugar syrup, and orange are added to create this last recipe.


Fun fact

January 11th is the national hot toddy day, mark your calendars.


Webography



Manon Amel, Pauline Hurez and Magali Walrant

Vicky Pollard

Vicky Pollard



      Victoria, nicknamed « Vicky », Pollard is one of the most popular characters of the TV series Little Britain, and is played by Matt Lucas. In the series, Vicky is 15, lives in Bristol, and she is mainly known for her famous yet annoying catchphrases that she babbles in a strong dialectical accent, such as “No but yeah but no but yeah but no”.
Matt Lucas, who plays Vicky, is also one of the two creators of the series with David Walliams. But Vicky is not his only role in the show, since he has played no fewer than sixteen different characters since Little Britain started. He has also had his own radio show since 2010, entitled And the winner is, in which he hands out fictional awards based on nominations by his guests.
Little Britain has been broadcast since 2003, and is made of sketches involving amplified, stereotypical parodies of unsophisticated British people.  The name of the series is a wordplay on “Great Britain” and “Little England”. It has had a lot of success because Brits can usually relate to the everyday-situations the characters are in, or else it can remind them of other people they know.
Vicky Pollard represents the most extreme “chav” ‒ which is a stereotypical type of anti-social youth typically dressed in sportswear ‒ that you can find on British television, and she also represents most of today's youth, in a way. Indeed, the list of her wrong-doings includes swapping one of her babies for a band’s CD – and having 12 babies throughout the show ‒, dropping out of school when she was 11, getting arrested several times for shoplifting, wearing a terrible pink tracksuit all the time just like the rest of her family, and so on. She is clearly far from being a model and is, like the BBC would describe her, a “common-or-garden teenage delinquent”.
Matt Lucas got the idea for Vicky Pollard when he was studying at the university of Bristol, where he had to do a survey for one of his classes, and he got the idea of asking random people in the streets the question: “how are you?”, and wait for their responses, expecting them not to answer in an honest way. Then a young boy came along who must have got really frustrated by the question because he just said in the most inarticulate manner: “yeah but no but yeah it's like, it's kind of er..”, and that triggered Lucas' imagination for the character and he immediately told David Walliams. But Lucas got the idea for Vicky's appearance only after seeing the cover photo for Time Out Magazine in 2001, on which the young modelling duo of Nikki Carpenter and Stacey Bennett appeared wearing the same kind of outfit and hairdo you would find on Pollard.
Vicky is one of the most important characters of the show, having appeared in all episodes except for one. She has become one of England's most-known characters, and one of her quotes even made it in the Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations, alongside John Lennon and other influential people.


Mélissa Steck, Sophie Koukaras, Blanche Marchal

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Bono



Bono, whose real name is Paul David Hewson, was born on 10 May 1960 in Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland. He is the singer and the guitarist of the rock band U2. He grew up with his older brother, his father, and his mother, who passed away when he was only fourteen. He has always been interested in singing and at the age of 22, he got married to Alison Stewart, an Irish businesswoman who has been a real inspiration to her husband for decades. For example, he wrote the song “Sweetest Things” thinking of her. They have four children together: two daughters, Eve and Jordan, and two sons, Elijah and John. More than 20 years ago, Bono was diagnosed with a disease called glaucoma. It is a disease that reduces your vision and makes you more sensitive to light. That is why Bono always wears sunglasses. 

 U2 is an Irish rock group formed in 1976 and constituted of Bono (who sings and occasionally plays the guitar), The Edge (who plays the guitar, the piano and who also sings), Adam Clayton (who plays the bass) and Larry Mullen Jr (at the drums). 

 The four men, at the time still teenagers, were in the same school and, except for Paul / Bono, they were all part of “Lypton Village”, a small group of amateur artists.  Bono joined the group later: because his personality had impressed them, they decided to recruit him as a guitarist even though he couldn’t play the guitar. He soon became the singer of the group, and later also became their lyricist. 

 Since that time, Paul has gone by the nickname of “Bono” in reference to the “Bono Vox” sign he once saw in a hearing aid store in Dublin (one of his friends having claimed that Bono sung so loudly that it was as though he was singing for the deaf).






 The members of the band decided to rename the group several times. It was first called “Feedback”, then it became “The Hype” and, finally, “U2”, in 1976. They soon began building a strong local reputation, and then rapidly became an international group in the 1980’s thanks to their album called War, which defends human rights. 

 Bono got involved in many political causes and has supported many humanitarian organisations such as Amnesty International (an organisation that fights to protect human rights) or Greenpeace (an organisation that fights for environmental protection). 

 His first involvement in charitable causes happened in 1986, before he took part in the Conspiracy of Hope tour (which was a tour of concerts on behalf of Amnesty International). He was invited to Ethiopia by World Vision to create an education program in order to teach children about hygiene and health. He also created an organisation named DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) in 2002, has had his name written on the Forbes Generous Celebrity List, and has committed himself to fighting the debts of African countries or the AIDS epidemic. 
Furthermore, he has helped to create the ONE campaign or the (RED) association, which also works with the giant brand « Apple » or even « Nike »: by buying a RED Product phone or a pair of shoes, you can help women and children affected by AIDS in Africa.





 Thanks to these altruistic commitments, Bono was elected Person of the Year in 2005 and he was even proclaimed Knight of the Legion of Honour and Knight of the British Empire by Queen Elisabeth II in 2007. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times. In 2006, U2 released a cover of the Skids’ “The Saints Are Coming” with the punk band Green Day in order to raise funds to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Actually, Bono contributed to around forty charities and foundations like Oxfam, Unicef, Zero Hunger, and many more.

 To conclude, U2 is considered as an English icon because of their influence in the world. Indeed, they are not simply a rock band: they are also activists who have been using their power for good. They distinguished themselves from the others thanks to their simple way of making music without any provocation. They didn’t need to expose their private life to become famous because they were liked for their music and involvement in society.



Mathilde Lecocq, Eléonore Minette, Loïc Servais


SOURCES




AGA Cooker

AGA Cooker



The Aga Cooker is the first heat-storage cooker in the world in which you can cook many meals at the same time, invented by the Swedish Nobel Prize-winning physicist Dr Gustav Dalén in 1922. It is an icon of Britain because it has been manufactured in Coalbrookdale (south of Manchester) for a long time, which was an important place in the Industrial Revolution, and many craftsmen are still working there. A BBC survey in 2000 designated the AGA Cast Iron Range as one of the three design icons of the 20th century.


 Here is how the story of the Aga began. In 1922, the physicist Dr Gustav Dalén had the idea of creating a new type of range to help his wife in the kitchen. It was soon manufactured in Smethwick (Britain). From the 1930s onwards, the popularity of the Aga Cooker expanded so much that it soon conquered the USA. It became a symbol of modernism. During the war, the British government ordered Aga Cookers to help feed hospitals and soldiers. A second factory opened in Shropshire. In the 1950s, all the production was moved to Coalbrookdale, which started a new decade of success, especially thanks to the new models and colours that were then introduced. The 1960s mark a period of fewer demands because of the increasing popularity of gas and electricity, whereas Aga cookers still used solid fuel. In the 70s, the Aga Rangemaster Group developed new colours and models of cookers. In the 1980s, the 50th anniversary of the brand was celebrated, with the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visiting the factory in Coalbrookdale. The Aga Cooker continued to develop, and its popularity was by then so widespread that it even entered literature,  with the so-called ‘Aga-sagas’. These are romance novels in which Aga Cookers are described and used by the characters. In 1985, the first electric model was launched. In the 90s, Jan Bochall, a housekeeping writer, described the Aga Cooker as the “epitome of country-kitchen style”1. Mary Berry, a famous British cook and food writer, who presents cook shows on BBC 2, wrote The Aga Book. It is a guide book on how an Aga Cooker works. In 2011, the first model that can be switched on and off was introduced, as opposed to the older ones which had to be kept on.


 Everybody knows an Aga Cooker is very expensive – the cheapest ones cost £3,000 –, but the high price is counterbalanced by the machine’s many advantages. First, the wide range of colours and models allows the Aga Cooker to fit in a lot of different kitchens. Moreover, it can cook every kind of food in a gentle way, so that it keeps its flavour and good taste, and in large quantities so it is perfect for family meals. The Aga Cooker becomes part of your home life and you get attached to it (and your pets too). Plus an Aga can also be used to warm the room and to dry clothes. Eventually, its most important advantage is the investment, because even though it is expensive the Aga Cooker is programmed to last a lifetime. If some used to complain about the high gas bill, because the Aga had to be kept on constantly, it is no longer relevant thanks to the new model with an on/off switch. In addition, it is made of 70 % of recycled materials, and once disused it can be recycled again. 

 However, the Aga Cooker also has loads of drawbacks. One is the fact that you cannot really choose the heat at which you cook. It also causes a lot of environmental damage, e.g. the annual carbon footprint of a 2-oven gas Aga is two thirds that of an entire average British house. But the main disadvantage is the high price, which still increases with the extra costs, such as the installation and possible repairs. 

In conclusion, despite the price problem, the Aga Cooker remains an iconic heritage of Britain because of its history and its popularity.

Martine Ernst, Emma Joveneau, Noa Nicolaï

__________________________


 SOURCES



Thomas the tank engine

Thomas the tank engine


To understand the origins of Thomas the tank engine, we have to go back to 1942. Christopher Awdry, a  two-year-old British child, caught the measles. In an effort to cheer him up, his father, Wilbert Awdry, started telling him stories in rhymes about engines. The first three stories introduced respectively Edward the Blue Engine, Gordon the Big Engine and Henry the Green Engine. One year later, Wilbert decided to submit his three stories to Edmund Ward for publication. This one asked Wilbert a fourth story in order to continue "The sad story of Henry" and to finish on a happy ending. The four books were published in 1945 in one volume under the name The Three Railway Engines. Only one year later, Wilbert published Thomas The Tank Engine, which was highly requested by Christopher. Nowadays, Thomas is undoubtedly the most popular character of the entire railway series. The stories about Thomas were even adapted for television in 1984 under the name Thomas and friends.
 In the Railway series, Thomas is a station pilot who was sent to Sodor due to some wars. Over time, he builds his own branch line and earns two coaches whose names are Annie and Clarabel.
In the television series, Thomas is sent to Sodor with the aim of directing coaches for The Main Line engines.
 In both series, Thomas is an insolent but kind engine, and he always behaves well. He loves teasing other engines and especially the big ones, such as Gordon. Thomas has some faults such as being forgetful, impatient and boastful. He is lucky to have the Fat Controller and his two coaches to bring him back down to earth and draw the moral for him. But he has also some qualities, such as being optimistic and idealistic.
 Percy is Thomas’ best friend. They have the same personality. The role of Percy in the series is to teach the difficult words to viewers. He often makes mistakes and he also makes many accidents, certainly because of his own silliness or his tricks backfiring. However, he always tries to do his best by learning from his mistakes.
 There are plenty of parodies of Thomas the tank engine on the internet.  A lot of people have remixed the original theme song of the cartoon. The first remix was made in 2005. Many other songs have been uploaded since then.  ErnestEngine is a Youtube channel which works as a parody of the children’s program. Other well-known Youtubers have also made videos about Thomas.
 Thomas was voiced by 2 different people. Ben Small played him between 2010 and 2015 and John Hasler has been doing it since 2015.
 There are lots of marketing products with Thomas on it. You can easily find toys, clothes, sheet, cups, party kits, and other things at various prices. An educational video game launched in 2006. Moreover, Thomas is also the “star” of the Thomas Land area in the Drayton Manor theme park.

 As we said before, Thomas was the most popular character in the railway series and became an icon from which a lot of marketing is now derived. Nowadays, he’s an essential part of British culture. Thomas is very popular among children as well as parents thanks to the educational characteristics of the books. In fact, as we saw before, each character shows a specific trait which leads to a moral.

Estelle Culot, Céliane Collignon, Anne-Lise Maréchal

SOURCES

- http://ttte.wikia.com/wiki/Thomas
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_the_Tank_Engine
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Railway_Series
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_%26_Friends
- http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/thomas-the-tank-engine-remixes
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LemqREMtmtc
- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3h6GjHjIpWkX_S27AmzdoA
- http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0299808/?ref_=ttfc_fc_cl_t6
- http://www.thomasandfriends.com/en-us/products/product-catalog
- http://www.partycity.ca/product/thomas+the+tank+engine+party+supplies.do
- http://lifestyle.howstuffworks.com/family/activities/movie-fun-night/how-thomas-the-tank-engine-works6.htm
- http://events.hitentertainment.com/en-us/dayoutwiththomas/index.html



BILLY BRAGG

His Life

Billy Bragg is a singer, a songwriter and a musician. He is also a political activist. He plays the guitar and he is known for his folk-rock music. His full name is Stephen William Bragg. We also call him ‘The Bard of Barking’. He was born on 20th December 1957 in Barking, a little town in England. He is married to Juliet Bragg and they have a son named Jack.
        
Billy Bragg


HIS CAREER

Billy Bragg wanted to get out of Barking because he knew that if did not, he would have a career at the car factory in Barking. He joined the band Riff Raff in 1977. A few years later, he decided to take a different direction and joined the British Army in 1981. However, he soon hated it and returned to his parents’ home. He then worked at a record store. While he was working, he wrote songs. He wrote lyrics about politics and love. He was inspired by Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. In 1983, Billy finally came back to the scene as a soloist. He had the opportunity to share his talent thanks to John Peel, a famous DJ in Britain, who played Billy’s record Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs Spy, that was Billy’s first radio play. A few months later, he began a British tour. He played whenever and wherever he could perform. He sang one of Bob Dylan’s song and criticised Donald Trump, saying that “Martin Luther King is spitting in his grave”, according to the Rolling Stone website.

In 1987, he made a compilation of his three releases named Back to Basics, which was a great success, according to the AllMusic review. The songs demonstrate themes like critical commentary on Thatcherite Britain. In 1990, Nora Guthrie, the daughter of Woody Guthrie, the American singer who has always been one of his sources of inspiration, contacted Billy and she asked him to collaborate with an American band called Wilco. He accepted and sang the songs written by Woody before his death. They released an album called Mermaid Avenue and it is a part of the 1001 albums that you have to listen at least once in your life, according to Billboard. He achieved considerable success with them.

Billy Bragg and the band Wilco


POLITICS AND ACTIVISM

It is important to mention that Billy supports many humanitarian causes because it means so much to him. He was a member of Red Wedge; a socialist musician collective of which Paul Weller and Tom Robinson were members too. The musicians wanted to help people to engage with politics, especially the young. During the 1987 general election, they particularly wanted to convince people to vote and expel the Conservative government led by Margaret Thatcher. He is not in favour of the British National Party, the Labour Party and the Brexit. Billy militates against racism, homophobia, sexism and many more such intolerant beliefs and ideologies.
You can find below one of Billy Bragg's political songs called "There is power in a union"

Billy Bragg travelled a lot and Mr Bragg goes to Moscow is a documentary about his trips to the Soviet Union when he made a series of concerts in Tallinn, Estonia and Moscow. Here you can see the first part of his documentary.

Billy Bragg is very interested in the notion of English identity. In 2006, his book The Progressive Patriot came out. In it, he talks about what patriotism means to him and replies to the events of 7th July 2005, when four bombs exploded in London, killing 52 people and injuring many more.


FROM 2011 TO 2017

In October 2011, he released Fight Songs, a compilation of political songs that he had uploaded on his website as free downloads. In September 2016, his album Shine a Light was released. Billy made the album with the American songwriter and producer Joe Henry. They began a tour in September 2016 in the USA. They continued in the UK in November and January. The tour ended in April 2017 in Australia.
Click here to have a look at their website. You can also see Billy Bragg's website here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Glenn Gould (1932-1982)




Glenn Gould playing the piano in his characteristic position

Glenn Gould was born on 25 September 1932 in Toronto (Canada). He began to play the piano and to compose his own music very early. At 10, he entered the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto. There he received his degree with the highest honours but never obtained a high school one. In his twenties, he isolated himself with his piano. His real name was Gold but his parents decided to change it into Gould because of the anti-Semitism that existed in Canada at the time.

He was really into Bach's music, so it is not surprising that his most famous work is his version of “The Goldberg Variations” (1955). He also began to appear on the radio and on television to record his compositions. His music was a mix between Elizabethan, classical and baroque music. He did a number of concerts but stopped after 9 years, in 1964.
After that, he became a recording artist only, because he considered the recording technologies as a ''distinct art''. He did not want to make copies of earlier works, and he therefore changed the harmonies and the structures of the pieces he took up, to end up with his own version. His talent and popularity are illustrated by the various film soundtracks that have used Gould's music; The silence of the Lambs (1991), for instance, or The English Patient (1996). He lived a calm life until he died of a stroke at 50, on 4 October 1982.


video





Glenn Gould was a bit of a character. He was very eccentric and lived in his own world. He was hypochondriac and had some OCDs, which made him special. He did not like to perform in front of an audience. He also hated it when people shook his hand, which is why he always wore gloves, no matter the temperature. In fact, he was a very solitary person who preferred to be left alone. He didn't really know how to act in social situations. The great and popular artist he was did not let a single bit of his privacy in the hands of the media. 


His famous and special chair

He was unconventional in both his social life and his music. He also had a very famous, special chair, which gave him his characteristic position on his piano. His clothes really showed his personality. In fact, he used to wear winter clothing, heavy clothing, even in warm places, such as a coat, a hat and mittens. He completely neglected his physical appearance. All these eccentricities turned out to be caused by a mild form of autism, which could explain his genius, his memory and his perfectionism.

He was a conductor too, but not for very long. He tried to begin his career as a conductor in 1982, but sadly died after his first recording.
His work spread everywhere posthumously and he became even more famous in the decades that followed his death. He played a significant role in media and in the creation of new techniques in this field. He had anticipated the fact that new technologies, as well as the internet, would ''democratize and decentralize the institutions of culture''. Many books and films were made about him.


By Chloé PierrardSoline Braeckman and Marie-Esther Poivre

SOURCES:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Peanuts


Charles Monroe Schulz, the author of the famous comic strip Peanuts, was born on November 26, 1922, in Minneapolis, Minnesota but grew up in the state’s capital: Saint Paul. Since he was a little boy, Charles Schulz, nicknamed Sparky by his uncle, had loved to draw and had always aspired to be a cartoonist. He used to draw his little dog, called Spike, which would later become the inspiration for Snoopy, one of the most famous characters from the Peanuts franchise. He attended Richards Gordon Elementary School, where a statue of Snoopy was later placed. 
In 1942, his career plans were delayed when he was drafted into the united States Army, but he was discharged three years later, after Germany’s surrender, and returned to Minneapolis. He first trained as a machine gunner rising to the rank of staff sergeant. His unit was shipped to Europe in February 1945, where they helped lead the charge on Munich and liberate the Dachau concentration camp. After Germany’s surrender, Schulz received the Combat Infantryman Badge for fighting in active ground combat under hostile fire. He was officially discharged on January 6, 1946.  After that, he took on some jobs before becoming a full-time cartoonist.

Charles M.Schulz produced L’il Folks, the original name of Peanuts, for his hometown newspaper in 1947. Thanks to the considerable success he achieved with it, the author decided to go and pitch L’il Folks to the United Features Syndicate. The latter revealed themselves, to be interested in the work but not in the name so he changed the name into Peanuts. Unfortunately, Schulz did not like the name of his strip but he could not change it anymore, although he did suggest to call it Ol' Charlie Brown.

In 1950, Peanuts was published in nine newspapers and was a daily strip. The first strip was four panels long with the last one showing Shermy, a little boy, saying that he hates Charlie Brown. Schulz wanted to produce everything by himself such as the scripts, the art and the lettering, except to make the comic book adaptations of Peanuts

1960 was the “golden age” for Peanuts, with the apparition of the most well-known themes and characters, including Snoopy. Its success comes from its social commentary, which consists in commenting on society by using rhetorical means.
In 1990, Peanuts undoubtedly was the most famous comic strip in the US with an author who constantly kept on writing until his death, in 1999. The last daily one, published in 2000, features Snoopy receiving Schulz’s retirement letter. 

Snoopy is one of the main characters of the comic. He is a beagle (a dog) whose owner is Charlie Brown. They get on very well and love each other, even though Snoopy is sometimes a bit lazy and « rebellious » (for example, he always forgets his owner’s name). The dog lives in a fantasy world and tends to dress up as different characters such as a pilot,… Snoopy first appeared in the comic in October 1950 but it is only in November 1950 that he was officially called Snoopy.  At the beginning of the comic, Snoopy was pictured as an ordinary dog but in 1952, his thoughts were verbalized for the first time and balloons appear above his head. What is more, in 1957 he was depicted as being able (thanks to Charlie) to walk on two legs and so he begins acting like humans. A film was made in 2015, starring all the characters from Peanuts. That same year, Snoopy received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Charlie Brown is the owner of Snoopy. He has a strong relationship with him and they love each other as much as they annoy each other. He always wants to help Snoopy. Charlie is victimized because he always helps the others but they never return the favour. He is sensitive and is likely to be easily offended. 

Sally is Charlie’s sister. She has a heart of gold and she is sweet even though she is manipulative and uses Snoopy whenever she wants. She doesn’t attach importance to him. 
Linus van Pelt is Charlie’s best friend. He is first introduced as a baby but he grows faster than the other characters so that he can be the same age as the others. He always wants to learn new skills and Charlie teaches him to play baseball. Linus always has a blue blanket with him and Snoopy wants to steal it. 
Lucy van Pelt is Linus’ older sister. She is stubborn and always complains about everything. Lucy is really mean towards Charlie; she is short-tempered but occasionally kind, especially with Linus. Despite that, she abuses her brother, she treats him as a servant: she does whatever she wants. She is Snoopy’s love but she hardly ever shows affection towards him. 
Rerun van Pelt is Lucy’s brother. He wants to adopt Snoopy but Charlie refuses and Snoopy and Rerun are confidants ; or at least they tell each other how they are feeling and what is wrong.
Lila is Snoopy’s previous owner who couldn’t keep him because dogs weren’t allowed in her apartment. 
Patty is the oldest of the children so she is seen as a sort of mother for the others. Despite her age, she is sometimes a bit naïve and she believes in unthinkable things. 
Woodstock and his brother's eggs hatched at the same time but Woodstock could not fly so Snoopy decided to take him under his wing. They became friends and Woodstock became Snoopy's most loyal friend.
The comic only focuses on children and babies: no adults are ever mentioned. 


Sylvie Deleu, Louise Mataisse, and Alena Smekens