Metropolis

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It was on this day 92 years ago  the classic Science Fiction movie was released. I recently watched it again and was amazed by how fresh the movie still looked,

But more then just a Sci-Fi flick it is also a snapshot of the political situation of the time and the years that followed, not so much in the film as such but in the lives of those who were involved in making the movie.

1927 Germany was at the advent of massive  social and political changes. The popularity of the Nazi part was gaining momentum, although they were still a small party they were making significant gains.

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UFA GmbH, the distributing studio of Metropolis had been in financial difficulties and was bought in 1927 by politician and media tycoon Alfred Hugenberg. He was also the chairman of the German National People’s Party, a conservative nationalist party.As leader of the German National People’s Party he played a pivotal role  in helping Adolf Hitler become Chancellor of Germany and served in his first cabinet in 1933,

The director of the movie Fritz Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou, who wrote the novel and the screenplay for Metropolis, had initially also flirted with the Nazi party.

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The couple produced a number of movies together. Aside from Metropolis the also made the classic thriller “M” in 1931. which starred a young Austro-Hungarian Jewish actor László Löwenstein better known as Peter Lorre.

When Hitler came to power Peter Lorre left Germany because of the Antisemitic laws which were introduced.

The actress Brigitte Helm who played Maria and also the Tin Machine in Metropolis ,felt the wrath of the Nazi party  for “race defilement” in marrying her second husband Dr. Hugo Kunheim, an industrialist of Jewish background. The couple left for Switzerland in 1935 and never returned to Germany.

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Joseph Goebbels had been impressed by Fritz Lang’s work and although he banned Lang’s 1933 film”The Testament of Dr. Mabuse” because it “showed that an extremely dedicated group of people are perfectly capable of overthrowing any state with violence” He still offered a position as the head of German film studio UFA.

However Lang did not accept the offer and left Berlin on 31 July 1933, He had also been worried about the increasing power of the Nazi party and the Antisemitic laws ,known as the Nuremberg Laws, imposed in Germany, even though Fritz Lang’s mother  had converted from Judaism to Catholic, and Fritz Lang had been raised as a Catholic, according to the Nüremberg Laws his mother and therefor Fritz too were stlll considered Jewish.

And although he had initially sympathized with the Nazi party he had soon changed his mind, But his wife Thea von Harbou remained a Nazi supporter. The couple divorced on April 26, 1933.

Fritz Lang emigrated to the USA and worked on many successful Hollywood movies like “the Return of Frank James” starring Henry Fonda.

Thea von Harbou stayed involved in the German film industry with  some movies with an indisputable National Socialist worldview.

Many people nowadays will probably only know Metropolis from the Queen video “Radio Ga Ga” and are probably blissfully unaware of the historical significance of the movie.

 

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Sources

IMDb

YouTube

 

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How the Grammy’s turned from a prestigious award into a joke.

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Whatever happened to music? What happened to the Grammy’s?

Over the last decade or so the music industry has been complaining about the decline of sales figures, and they blamed everything and every one. First it was Napster. Then it was the illegal downloading of music from other websites like ‘limewire’ which was shut down.

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Now they are blaming the several streaming services like “Spotify’ and also Youtube.

However they forget to blame the massive elephant in the tiny room. The music industry itself, the music has gone dire as if all songs were thrown into a big blender and came out less then blend. There are still a few exceptions that perform great music but in general the quality is just bad. It is not a surprise that some of the old timers still tour.

If any proof was ever needed how bad the music has become, we only have to look at the recent performance of the EIGHT time Grammy awards winner Fergie at the NBA All star game.

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Fergie won 8 Grammy’s the most prestigious music price in the world. But the Grammy’s are no longer that, they have become a bit of a joke. It has become more of the musical equivalent of the Razzies.

Let’s just have a brief look how it went from a platform of the world’s greatest performers to the manufactured a-musical rubbish nowadays. I will not go though all 60 editions, just a few but it will illustrate the decline of music perfectly.

Winners at the 1st Grammy awards in 1958

Frank Sinatra,Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como.

 

Winners at the 10th Grammy Awards in 1967.

The Beatles,Glen Campbell,Chet Atkins, Duke Ellington

 

Winners at the 20th Grammy Awards in 1977

The Eagles,Barbra Streisand,Steely Dan,Al Jarreau

 

Winners at the 30th Grammy Awards in 1987

U2,Paul Simon,Sting, Whitney Houston

 

Here we take a small detour to the 33rd Grammy awards in 1990. You will not find any records of this ‘band’ on the Grammy website because it caused a major scandal and embarrassment because this band won the award of best new comer by miming or lip syncing. The band was of course Milli Vanilli.

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But the damage was already done and  the rot started to kick in at the Grammy’s

Winners at the 40th Grammy Awards in 1997

R.Kelly,Backstreet,Radiohead,Puff Daddy(or P.Diddy or whatever he is called nowadays)

 

Winners at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2007

Kanye West,Justin Timberlake,Rihanna,Ne-Yo

 

At the last Grammy’s in 2017 the pendulum slightly swung back to award real musicians/,singer/songwriters  even though Bruno Mars was the biggest winner. I do actually like Bruno Mars but as a show man or entertainer. As a singer he does not stand out.

Winners at the 60th Grammy Awards in 2017

Bruno Mars.Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Leonard Cohen

 

If you look at the winners of the last 15-20 years or so and you compare them to artists who never won a Grammy, you can’t help but think the Gammy’s have become a joke.

Artists who never won a Grammy.

Bob Marley,Jimi Hendrix,Joe Satriani,Led Zeppelin,Queen,Guns N Roses,Ramones,Journey,The Who,The Kinks,Iggy Pop,Talking Heads,Velvet Underground and Chuck Berry.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Resource

Grammy

Rolling Stone Magazine

 

The King’s great matter

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By the mid-1520s, King Henry VIII had grown very unhappy in his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. She had, by then, borne him eight children, with only the Princess Mary (born 1516) surviving infancy. Henry wished for a male heir to stabilize the future succession of the Crown. For state and personal reasons, he sought a divorce from Catherine so that he might marry Anne Boleyn, a young lady of the court with whom he had fallen in love. Between 1527 and 1535, England was preoccupied with the political and religious questions attendant to what was called “the King’s great matter.”

In 1525, Henry VIII became romantically interested in Anne Boleyn, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine who was 11 years younger than Henry.

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Henry began pursuing her;Catherine was no longer able to bear children by this time. Henry began to believe that his marriage was cursed and sought confirmation from the Bible, By 1527, Henry was citing Biblical verses Leviticus 18:1-9 and Leviticus 20:21, interpreting these to mean that his marriage to his brother’s widow explained his lack of a male heir by Catherine.which he interpreted to say that if a man marries his brother’s wife, the couple will be childless.Even if her marriage to Arthur had not been consummated (and Catherine would insist to her dying day that she had come to Henry’s bed a virgin), Henry’s interpretation of that biblical passage meant that their marriage had been wrong in the eyes of God.Whether the Pope at the time of Henry and Catherine’s marriage had the right to overrule Henry’s claimed scriptural impediment would become a hot topic in Henry’s campaign to wrest an annulment from the present Pope. It is possible that the idea of annulment had been suggested to Henry much earlier than this, and is highly probable that it was motivated by his desire for a son. Before Henry’s father ascended the throne, England was beset by civil warfare over rival claims to the English crown, and Henry may have wanted to avoid a similar uncertainty over the succession.

It soon became the one absorbing object of Henry’s desires to secure an annulment.Catherine was defiant when it was suggested that she quietly retire to a nunnery, saying: “God never called me to a nunnery. I am the King’s true and legitimate wife”.He set his hopes upon an appeal to the Holy See, acting independently of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, whom he told nothing of his plans.

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William Knight, the King’s secretary, was sent to Pope Clement VII to sue for an annulment, on the grounds that the dispensing bull of Pope Julius II was obtained by false pretenses.

As the Pope was, at that time, the prisoner of Catherine’s nephew, Emperor Charles V, following the Sack of Rome in May 1527.

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Knight had difficulty in obtaining access to him. In the end, Henry’s envoy had to return without accomplishing much. Henry now had no choice but to put this great matter into the hands of Wolsey, who did all he could to secure a decision in Henry’s favour.

However, the Pope had never had any intention of empowering his legate. Charles V resisted the annulment of his aunt’s marriage, but it is not clear how far this influenced the Pope. But it is clear that Henry saw that the Pope was unlikely to give him an annulment from the Emperor’s aunt.

The Pope forbade Henry to proceed to a new marriage before a decision was given in Rome, not in England. Wolsey bore the blame. Convinced that he was treacherous, Anne Boleyn maintained pressure until Wolsey was dismissed from public office in 1529. After being dismissed, the cardinal begged her to help him return to power, but she refused. He then began a plot to have Anne forced into exile and began communication with Queen Katherine and the Pope. When this was discovered, Henry ordered Wolsey’s arrest and had it not been for his death from illness in 1530, he probably would have been executed for treason.

A year later, Catherine was banished from court, and her old rooms were given to Anne Boleyn. Catherine wrote in a letter to Charles V in 1531:

My tribulations are so great, my life so disturbed by the plans daily invented to further the King’s wicked intention, the surprises which the King gives me, with certain persons of his council, are so mortal, and my treatment is what God knows, that it is enough to shorten ten lives, much more mine

Wolsey was replaced by Sir Thomas More, who took the job on the condition that he not be involved in the divorce matter, and who would later prove a greater problem for Henry than Wolsey.

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At this time the government was effectively in the hands of the dukes of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Wiltshire, the last of whom was Anne Boleyn’s father. .

In July 1531, Henry officially separated from Catherine and began to live openly with Anne Boleyn. Also that year, the politically enterprising Thomas Cromwell was appointed to the inner circle of the king’s council, soon gaining the king’s confidence and advising him toward a direct break with the Roman Church.

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Matters came to a head when Henry married Anne Boleyn secretly in January 1533, after discovering she was pregnant with the king’s child. Also that month, the reform-minded Thomas Cranmer was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. In March, all appeals to Rome were suspended with Parliament’s Act of Appeals, effectively breaking off England’s legal ties to the Papacy. In May, Cranmer assembled a court at Dunstable that delivered sentence that the marriage with Catherine was void, and the marriage with Anne was true. Catherine lost her title, Anne was named Queen of England, and the infant Elizabeth born in September 1533 replaced Princess Mary as the legitimate heir to the throne. Henry received his divorce and his new wife, King-Henry-VIIIbut he did not yet have a male heir, and in conjunction with these events, he declared himself the Supreme Head on Earth of the Church of England, igniting a virtual revolution of Church and State.The declaration received legal force in the 1534 Act of Supremacy, and was followed by the Oath of Succession which was demanded from all government officials, lay and clerical. The oath concerned the transferral of the primary sovereign right to the inheritance of Anne’s daughter Elizabeth, taking it from Catherine’s daughter Mary.

Thomas More, also unwilling to take an oath to support the Act of Succession, and having opposed Henry’s marriage to Anne, was charged with treason, imprisoned, and executed. Bishop Fisher, an early and consistent opponent of the divorce and supporter of Catherine’s marriage, was also imprisoned for refusing to recognize Henry as head of the church. While in prison, the new Pope, Paul III, made Fisher a cardinal, and Henry hurried Fisher’s trial for treason. More and Fisher were both beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in 1886 and canonized in 1935.

In 1534 and 1535, when Catherine heard that her daughter Mary was ill, each time she asked to be able to see her and nurse her, but Henry refused to allow that. Catherine did get word out to her supporters to urge the Pope to excommunicate Henry.

When, in December 1535, Catherine’s friend Maria de Salinas heard that Catherine was ill, she asked permission to see Catherine. Refused, she forced herself into Catherine’s presence anyway. Chapuys, the Spanish ambassador, was also allowed to see her. He left on January 4. On the night of January 6, Catherine dictated letters to be sent to Mary and to Henry, and she died on January 7, in the arms of her friend Maria. Henry and Anne were said to celebrate upon hearing of Catherine’s death.

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25th anniversary of the Freddie Mercury tribute concert.

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The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness was a concert held on Easter Monday, 20 April 1992 at Wembley Stadium in London, England for an audience of 72,000. The concert was produced for television by Ray Burdis and broadcast live on television and radio to 76 countries around the world, with an audience of up to one billion.

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The concert was a tribute to the life of Queen lead vocalist, Freddie Mercury, with proceeds going to AIDS research. The show marked bassist John Deacon’s final full-length concert with Queen (save a short live appearance with Brian May, Roger Taylor and Elton John in 1997). The profits from the concert were used to launch The Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS charity organisation.

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Farrokh Bulsara- AKA Freddie Mercury

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It is hard to believe this musical giant passed away this day 26 years ago. I still vividly remember the news reports.

It had only been a few days after it was announced he had aids that the world heard that Freddie Mercury died at the age of 45 at his home in Kensington. The official cause of death was bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS.

Mercury’s close friend, Dave Clark of The Dave Clark Five, had taken over the bedside vigil when he died.

Austin phoned Mercury’s parents and sister to break the news of his death,which reached newspaper and television crews by the early hours of 25 November.

Mercury was born of Parsi descent in the Sultanate of Zanzibar and grew up there and in India until his mid-teens, before moving with his family to Middlesex, England — ultimately forming the band Queen in 1970 with Brian May and Roger Taylor.

Before forming Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had played together in a band named Smile. Freddie Mercury (then known by his birth name of Farrokh “Freddie” Bulsara) was a fan of Smile and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques.

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Mercury joined the band in 1970, suggested “Queen” as a new band name, and adopted his familiar stage name. John Deacon was recruited before the band recorded their eponymous debut album in 1973. Queen first charted in the UK with their second album, Queen II, in 1974, but it was the release of Sheer Heart Attack later that year and A Night at the Opera in 1975 which brought them international success. The latter featured “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which stayed at number one in the UK for nine weeks and popularised the music video.

Although Mercury’s speaking voice naturally fell in the baritone range, he delivered most songs in the tenor range.His known vocal range extended from bass low F to soprano high F  He could belt up to tenor high F .

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There are very few,if any, who have the vocal capability of Freddie Mercury, additional to his amazing vocal range he was also a naturally born entertainer.I remember when I was watching the 1985 Live Aid Concerts,Freddie got the massive crowd in Wembley going by just doing a vocal exercise.

November 24 1991 is still one of the saddest days in Rock history. A unique man in every sense of the world left the world with a legacy which will last an eternity.

As a teenage I once did a lip sync performance in a school show, called “the Playback show” of “I want to break free”. Before you ask, yes me and 3 of my friends dressed up as the members of Queen, mini skirt and all.

It’s when I saw the video of “These are the days of our lives” it struck me to how sick he had been, he was half the man he used to be.

 

Freddie I salute you and thank you for the music and memories you have given me and so many others around the globe. There can only be one. Through your music you will live forever. RIP

 

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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