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Friday, 26 December 2014

Answers to the Christmas Quiz and a new question.::

Here are the answers to the Christmas Quiz which was obviously not hard enough! Next time it will be extra difficult! Also, at the end, there is a bonus Christmas question that will really make you think. Probably.


1) The Latin word meaning 'coming' gave us what term which still refers to the coming Christmas period?  ADVENT means coming or arrival
2) In which European language does 'Nadolig Llawen' mean Merry Christmas? WELSH
3) Who composed the Lieutenant Kijé orchestral suite, part of which is a familiar piece of Christmas music? PROKOFIEV
You can here it here
4) In which fictional place was it always winter but never Christmas? NARNIA from C S Lewis's The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
5) In which continent did turkeys originate.....? (In the UK we don't celebrate Thanksgiving but, traditionally, eat turkey at Christmas.) NORTH AMERICA, the US and Mexico.

6).....and why are turkeys so-called? Because they were first brought to Europe by Turkish merchant ships (and were thought to have come from India). 
Well done to those who got them (even by 'research'!)
And here as promised is the new question:
In the lyrics of Elvis Presley's song Blue Christmas there are three other colours mentioned. What are they? If it's too much for your brain listen here

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Quiz Questions (22): Christmas Quiz

It's a while since I posted a quiz so here is a new selection of harder Christmas questions. Cheating is definitely allowed! I wish all readers of this Blog a peaceful holiday season and prosperous new year!
Over 1,000 Santas took part in a Charity Run in Bristol, England last weekend.
Your correspondent was there!
1) The Latin word meaning 'coming' (oh, behave!) gave us what term which still refers to the coming Christmas period? 
2) In which European language does 'Nadolig Llawen' mean Merry Christmas? 
3) Who composed the Lieutenant Kijé orchestral suite, part of which is a familiar piece of Christmas music? 
4) In which fictional place was it "always winter but never Christmas"
5) In which continent did turkeys originate.....? (In the UK we don't celebrate Thanksgiving but, traditionally, eat turkey at Christmas.)
6).....and why are they so-called?


Listening to 'Linda Paloma' by Jackson Browne: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wr4jIWl654
and there is a good a live version: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLd76ZXGDO4

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Painting of the Month (51) December 2014: Manet

In 2005 a BBC Radio station ran a competition where listeners voted for their favourite painting in the UK. For the next few items in this series I will be featuring a random selection of those pictures. By 'random' I mean paintings that I personally like!
A Bar at the Folies-Bergieres. Édouard Manet 1892
There are many interesting features of this painting that, despite it's late nineteenth century setting, make it quite modern. Firstly it is generally believed to be the first painting to depict a registered trade mark. Can you spot it? I will reveal it at the end of this article. Secondly there is the impossible composition; the girl behind the bar is looking straight out at the viewer of the painting yet, in the mirror behind her, her reflection can be seen talking to a customer at completely the wrong angle. For years I thought it was the back of another barmaid. The gent with the top-hat should be in front of us blocking our view. The girls name was Suzon, who in reality did work there, but Manet had painted her in his studio and added the background from quick impressionistic sketches he had made. She looks sad and detached from her work. She wears a locket around her neck which hints at a love far away from this world with the sinister stranger at the bar with his Jack-the-Ripper-like menace. This picture was painted immediately after The Ripper was 'active' (1888-91). 
Eduard Manet worshipped the Spanish painter Diego Velazquez and his painting 'Las Meninas' is the surprising inspiration for this picture. Looking at the picture, below, can you see the connection and the elements that interested Manet? Let me explain:
'Las Meninas'. Velazquez 1656.
There is a strange mix of positions and points of view. The artist, the Infanta and a dwarf courtier are looking out of the picture at the viewer while others, within the painting, are interacting between themselves. Also reflected in a mirror, near the centre are what is probably the King & Queen who would be looking into the painting. Possibly they are the subject which the artist is painting. Shouldn't we be looking at their backs?

At each end of the bar is a beer bottle with a red triangle design on the label - the trade mark of Bass beer brewed in Burton-on-Trent, England. (Founded in 1777 and still going though not a patch on the great beer that it once was since being taken over by Anheuser-Busch!)
Listening to Negro Y Azul (The ballad of Heisenberg) by Los Cuates de Sinaloa from Breaking Bad. Fab! Listen here