Tag Archives: highwayman

Almanac – April 07

1739 – Dick Turpin executed. English highwayman whose exploits were romanticised following his execution in York for horse theft.

Turpin may have followed his father’s profession as a butcher early in life, but by the early 1730s he had joined a gang of deer thieves, and later became a poacher, burglar, horse thief and murderer. Forget the romantic image, he was just another thug from Essex.

.

.

1836 – William Godwin died.  English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism.

Godwin is most famous for two books that he published within the space of a year: An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, an attack on political institutions, and Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, which attacks aristocratic privilege, but also is the first mystery novel.

Based on the success of both, Godwin featured prominently in the radical circles of London in the 1790s. In the ensuing conservative reaction to British radicalism, he was attacked, in part because of his marriage to the pioneering feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft in 1797 and his candid biography of her after her death.

 Their daughter, Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley) would go on to write Frankenstein and marry the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

.

.

1915 – Billie Holiday born. American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed “Lady Day” by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing.

Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. Critic John Bush wrote that Holiday “changed the art of American pop vocals forever.”

.

.

1920 – Ravi Shankar born.  Indian musician and composer who played the sitar. He has been described as the best-known contemporary Indian musician.

In 1956, he began to tour Europe and the Americas playing Indian classical music and increased its popularity there in the 1960s through teaching, performance, and his association with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and George Harrison of the Beatles.

.

.

A&A forum banner

Leave a comment

Filed under Almanac

Almanac – November 03

1783 – John Austin, a highwayman, was the last person to be publicly hanged at London’s Tyburn gallows.

.

.

1899 – Rezső Seress born. Hungarian pianist and composer. His most famous composition is Szomorú Vasárnap (“Gloomy Sunday“), written in 1933, which gained infamy as it became associated with a spate of suicides.

.

.

1926 – Annie Oakley died. American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter. Oakley’s amazing talentand timely rise to fame led to a starring role in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, which propelled her to become the first American female superstar. She died of pernicious anemia in Greenville, Ohio at the age of sixty-six.

.


.

1957 – Wilhelm Reich died.  Austrian psychoanalyst, a member of the second generation of psychoanalysts after Sigmund Freud, and one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry.

He coined the term “orgone” – derived from “orgasm” and “organism” – for a cosmic energy he said he had discovered, which he said others referred to as God. In 1940 he started building orgone accumulators, devices that his patients sat inside to harness the reputed health benefits, leading to newspaper stories about sex boxes that cured cancer.

Following two critical articles about him in The New Republic and Harper’s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration obtained an injunction against the interstate shipment of orgone accumulators and associated literature, believing they were dealing with a “fraud of the first magnitude.” Charged with contempt in 1956 for having violated it, Reich was sentenced to two years in prison, and in August that year six tons of his publications were burned by order of the court, one of the most notable examples of censorship in the history of the United States. He died in jail of heart failure just over a year later, days before he was due to apply for parole

.

.

1957 – The Soviet Union launched  Sputnik 2. On board was the first animal to enter orbit, a dog named Laika. She was destined to also be the first animal to die in orbit.

.

.

1979 – Greensboro massacre: Five members of the Communist Workers Party were shot dead and seven are wounded by a group of Klansmen and neo-Nazis during a “Death to the Klan” rally in Greensboro, North Carolina.

.

1986 – Iran-Contra Affair: The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa reported that the United States has been secretly selling weapons to Iran in order to secure the release of seven American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon.

.

1993 – Leon Theremin died.  Russian and Soviet inventor. He is most famous for his invention of the theremin, one of the first electronic musical instruments.

.

.

2002 – Lonnie Donegan died. Scottish-born skiffle musician, with more than 20 UK Top 30 hits to his name. Known as the “King of Skiffle” and is often cited as a large influence on the generation of British musicians who became famous in the 1960s.

The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums states Donegan was “Britain’s most successful and influential recording artist before The Beatles. He chalked up 24 successive Top 30 hits, and was the first UK male to score two U.S. Top 10s”.

.

.

Leave a comment

Filed under Almanac