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Conversation Piece, South Shields

Conversation Piece is a sculpture by Spanish artist Juan Munoz, located at Littlehaven, South Shields.

The 22 figures are around 1.5 meters tall and weigh around a quarter of a ton.

More info/pictures at:  http://spiritofplace.weebly.com

 

 

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Almanac – June 04

1913 – Emily Davison received her fatal injuries.

A militant activist who fought for women’s suffrage in Britain. She was jailed on nine occasions and force-fed 49 times.
She is best known for stepping in front of King George V’s horse Anmer at the Epsom Derby on this date, sustaining injuries that resulted in her death four days later.
Her funeral on 14 June 1913 was organised by the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) and thousands of suffragettes accompanied the coffin and tens of thousands of people lined the streets of London. After a service in Bloomsbury her coffin was taken by train to the family grave in Morpeth, Northumberland.

Some have claimed that she was trying to disturb the Derby in order to draw attention to her cause, rather than to commit suicide, and  analysis of newsreel has supported the idea that Davison was reaching up to attach a scarf to the bridle of the King’s horse.

Analysis of newsreel also indicated that her position before she stepped out onto the track would have given her a clear view of the oncoming race, further countering the belief that she ran out to kill herself.

 

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Herbert Jones, the jockey riding the horse, suffered a mild concussion in the incident, but was “haunted by that poor woman’s face” for much longer.

In 1928, at the funeral of Emmeline Pankhurst, Jones laid a wreath “to do honour to the memory of Mrs Pankhurst and Miss Emily Davison”.

In 1951, his son found him dead in a gas-filled kitchen, having committed suicide.

The horse, Anmer, having gone over, got to his feet and completed the race without his jockey.

 

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Almanac – May 10

1768 – John Wilkes,  English radical, journalist, and politician, was imprisoned for writing an article for The North Briton severely criticizing King George III. This action provoked rioting in London.

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1916 – Milton Babbitt born. American composer, music theorist, and teacher, particularly noted for his serial and electronic music.

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1920 – Bert Weedon born. English guitarist whose style of guitar playing was popular and influential during the 1950s and 1960s.

He was the first British guitarist to have a hit record in the UK Singles Chart, in 1959, and his best-selling tutorial guides, Play in a Day, were a major influence on many leading British musicians, such as Eric Clapton, Brian May, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon, Dave Davies, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, Tony Iommi and Jimmy Page.

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1952 – Lee Brilleaux born.  English rhythm-and-blues singer and musician with  Dr Feelgood.

He co-founded Dr Feelgood with Wilko Johnson in 1971 and was the band’s lead singer, harmonica player and occasional guitarist.

According to one obituary: “Brilleaux and Johnson developed a frantic act, often charismatically dressed in dark suits and loose ties, shabby rather than smart. The rough, and almost ruthless, edge which ran through his vocal and harmonica style reflected the character and philosophy of the band.”

In 1976, Brilleaux helped found Stiff Records, one of the driving forces of Punk, with a loan.

In 2011, contemporary artist and Dr. Feelgood fan Scott King announced his intention to commemorate  Brilleaux by erecting a 300 ft gold-plated statue of the musician on the foreshore in Southend-on-Sea close to the legendary Kursaal where the band played some of their most important gigs. An e-petition was launched to collect signatures in support of the project.

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1952 – Sly Dunbar born. Jamaican  drummer, best known as one-half of the prolific  rhythm section and reggae production duo Sly and Robbie.

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1954 – Bill Haley & His Comets released “Rock Around the Clock”, the first rock and roll record to reach number one on the Billboard charts.

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Almanac- May 07

1939 – Jimmy Ruffin born.  American soul singer, and elder brother of David Ruffin of The Temptations.

He had several hit records between the 1960s and 1980s, the most successful being “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.

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1946 – Thelma Houston born.  American singer and actress.

She scored a number-one hit in 1977 with her cover version of the song “Don’t Leave Me This Way“, which won the Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

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Almanac – February 27

1940 – Bill Hunter born.  Australian actor of film, stage and television, appearing in more than 60 films.

Of acting, Hunter said, “As long as the direc­tor told me where to stand and what to say, I was happy. Any­one who says there’s any more to it than that, is full of bullshit. … It’s a job. It is a craft, but there’s no art involved. What you need is com­mon sense and a rea­son­ably rough head. You put on the makeup and the wardrobe, and that is half the per­for­mance. That upsets the purists, but never mind, they don’t work as much as I do.”

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1968 – Frankie Lymon died. American rock and roll/rhythm and blues singer and songwriter, best known as the boy soprano lead singer of a New York City-based early rock and roll group, The Teenagers.

He was found dead from a heroin overdose, aged 25,  in his grandmother’s bathroom .

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2006 – Linda Smith died.  British stand-up comic and comedy writer. She appeared regularly on Radio 4 panel games, and was voted “Wittiest Living Person” by listeners in 2002.

Her style was described as beguiling, apparently vulnerable and whimsical, but often waspish. She excelled at deadpan diatribes about everyday irritations.

She died as a consequence of ovarian cancer at the age of 48.

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Almanac – January 29

1737 – Thomas Paine born. English political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the American Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called “a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination.”

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1936 – James Jamerson born. American bass player. He was the uncredited bassist on most of Motown Records’ hits in the 1960s and early 1970s (Motown did not list session musician credits on their releases until 1971), and he is now regarded as one of the most influential bass players in modern music history. He performed on 30  number-one hits, more than any person or group in music history, and on more than 70 number-one R&B hits, also the most ever.

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1946 – Bettye Lavette born.  American soul singer-songwriter who made her first record at sixteen, but achieved only intermittent fame until 2005, with her album, I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise. Her eclectic musical style combines elements of soul, blues, rock and roll, funk, gospel, and country music.

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1958 – Linda Smith born. British stand-up comic and comedy writer. She appeared regularly on BBC Radio 4 panel games, and was voted “Wittiest Living Person” by listeners in 2002.

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2011 – Milton Babbitt died. American composer, music theorist, and teacher. He was particularly noted for his serial and electronic music.

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Almanac – October 19

1903 – Tor Johnson born.  Swedish professional wrestler (billed as The Super Swedish Angel) and actor. During his career as an actor, Johnson befriended director Edward D. Wood, Jr., who directed him in a number of films, most notably Bride of the Monster and Plan 9 from Outer Space, both which co-starred Bela Lugosi. Very friendly to work with on movie sets, actress Valda Hansen, who worked with Johnson in 1959’s Night of the Ghouls (also directed by Wood), described him as  “like a big sugar bun.”

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1944 – Peter Tosh born. Jamaican reggae musician who was a core member of the band The Wailers (1963–1974), and who afterwards had a successful solo career as well as being a promoter of Rastafari.

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1945 – Gloria Jones born. American singer and songwriter. She was the driver of the car that crashed and killed Marc Bolan at 4am on 16 September 1977.

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1945 – Divine born. Also known as Harris Glenn Milstead,  an American actor, singer and drag queen, often associated with independent filmmaker John Waters and starred in ten of Waters’s films, usually in a leading role. Concurrent with his acting career, he also had a successful career as a disco singer during the 1980s, at one point being described as “the most successful and in-demand disco performer in the world.”

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1988 – Son House died. American blues singer and guitarist. House pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms, often played with the aid of slide guitar, and his singing often incorporated elements of southern gospel and spiritual music.

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1995 – Don Cherry died. African-American jazz trumpetist whose career began with a long association with saxophonist Ornette Coleman. In the 1970s he ventured into the developing genre of world fusion music, incorporating influences of Middle Eastern, traditional African, and Indian music into his playing.

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2000 – Hortense Ellis died. Jamaican reggae artist , and the younger sister of  Alton Ellis.

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