Eurovision ’82 winner Nicole talks about ‘Ein bißchen Frieden’, her success and the Contest today


Monday, February 2, 2009

It has been nearly 27 years since Nicole, then a high school student from the Saarland in extreme western Germany, sang a heartfelt plea for world peace on the stage at the Eurovision Song Contest held in Harrogate, North Yorkshire in the United Kingdom. That simple message was wrapped with success; she became the first German in Contest history to take home the grand prize. The song was a brainchild of her former record producer, Ralph Siegel, and would be their greatest achievement in their nearly three-decade partnership.

Afterward, she was propelled to stardom across Europe by recording versions of her winning song, “Ein bißchen Frieden” (A little peace), in many European languages. To this day, it was the last winning Eurovision song to top the charts in the United Kingdom; it also has the distinction of being the 500th #1 single on the British charts.

This newfound fame brought her music to audiences across Europe, and in time, into Asia as well. By the end of the 1980s, however, her fame subsided somewhat and she refocused her career domestically. Since 1980, she has released over 30 albums in Germany; her most recent offering, Mitten ins Herz (Right into your heart), was accompanied by a three-month “unplugged” tour that ended in the third week of January.

Now off the road, Nicole spoke with Wikinews’ Mike Halterman about her past success, her life and career today, and her overall impressions of the Eurovision Song Contest, both past and present. This is the first in a series of interviews with past Eurovision contestants, which will be published sporadically in the lead-up to mid-May’s next contest in Moscow.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Eurovision_%2782_winner_Nicole_talks_about_%27Ein_bißchen_Frieden%27,_her_success_and_the_Contest_today&oldid=4510276”

Denny’s Super Bowl free ‘Grand Slam Breakfast’ brings 2 million diners


Friday, February 6, 2009

Denny’s 1,600 chain restaurants across North America, Puerto Rico and Canada, were slammed for eight hours Tuesday with hungry patrons standing on sidewalks for nearly two hours to take advantage of the $5.99 “Grand Slam Breakfast” giveaway.

Denny’s, a dining chain with annual revenue of about $900 million, has advertised in a TV commercial Sunday during the Super Bowl XLIII that it would give away its signature breakfast from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. local time Tuesday, at all its restaurants in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, while supplies lasted.

Denny’s Diner has promoted the iconic dish giveaway heavily, with a bold 30-second appeal ad that aired during the third quarter of the Super Bowl 43 on Sunday, plus another 15-second ad during the post-game show, offering a free breakfast to some 90 million viewers. In addition, it has placed a full-page ad in USA Today‘s Monday edition. The promotion was further announced on The Today Show and notices were also sent out to the chain’s “Denny’s Breakfast Club” members.

The NBC ad, which was bought to unveil a new promotion for customers squeezed by the recession, may have cost as much as $3 million, said Nelson Marchioli, CEO of Denny’s Corp. Super Bowl XLIII’s 30-second commercial time slot costs $2.4 million–$3 million for the airtime alone, excluding production and talent costs.

The game was televised live by the US NBC Sunday Night Football and Canada’s CTV Television Network. BayTSP has reported that, “as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, commercials that initially aired during NBC’s Super Bowl XLIII broadcast subsequently had been watched online more than 28 million times.”

“The promotion has a total cost of $5 million U.S., which includes $3 million for the commercial on NBC,” said a Denny’s spokesman, noting also that the company received about $50 million in news coverage, most of which was positive. According to a Denny’s representative, two million people walked through the restaurant chains’ doors Tuesday, and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour.

With the “Denny’s Feeds America” promotion, the company has reported 14 million hits on its Web site between Sunday night and Monday morning. Denny’s shares rose 6 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $1.98 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a range of $1.18 to $4.10 over the past 52 weeks.

“Denny’s free Grand Slam” has ranked in the top 10 Google searches early Tuesday and fell to No. 18 by the end of the promotion, while “denny s locations” was #9 on Google Trends, which tracks fast-rising searches. It has also held spots No. 1 (Denny’s) and 7 (Grand Slam) on Twitter‘s trending topics. It has generated much chat on Twitter, garnering 1,700 tweets on Tuesday, compared with its average of 59. Doritos, winner of the USA TODAY survey for best Super Bowl spot ad, had 933 mentions after reaching a peak of almost 3,300.

The idea of the TV ad was to get people to come in and re-evaluate Denny’s Diner. “A lot of people have forgotten what Denny’s is, or they think they know, while we’ve come out with a whole lot of new products. We felt like we needed to jump start the brand,” Denny’s Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Mark Chmiel said.

“We’re celebrating the Grand Slam this year,” Chmiel said. According to the company’s financial data, on January 15 Denny’s reported systemwide comparable-store sales for the fourth quarter were down 6.1 percent, compared to a 0.2 percent decline from the same period in 2007.

According to Robert Gonzalez, public relations company Hill & Knowlton spokesman, Denny’s has expected at least 2 million people to eat a free Grand Slam by the end of the promotion. “Every restaurant is packed with people and lines,” Gonzalez said. “Everything today is about fast. People are on the go, and they’re eating fast food. It’s cutting into sit-down dining,” he added.

“Each of the more than 1,500 Denny’s were planning to make about 100 Grand Slams an hour,” Denny’s spokeswoman Cori Rice said. It had predicted it will have served about 1,400 people per location, more than five times the normal volume. “Grand Slam Breakfast” is a four-item option on its menu, consisting of two pancakes, two eggs, two strips of bacon and two sausage links. It weighs in at 44 grams of fat, 56 carbohydrates and 770 calories.

Nationwide, Denny’s expected to sell about 2 million Grand Slams — about 15 percent of the annual tally. According to Mark Chmiel, chief marketing operator and executive vice president, the diner chain has reported approximately 2 million meals worth more than $12 million were given away nationwide and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour. It estimated it has earned about $50 million worth of public relations following the free Grand Slam campaign, Chmiel said.

The company is also experimenting with a Grand Slam Burrito and also has introduced for this year, a Grand Slamwich, which includes eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese between two slices of bread, with a teaspoon serving. “It already has shown strong consumer appeal,” said Chmiel. The company has received flood of e-mails and letters proving the positive impact of the Grand Slam campaign and commercials on its customers.

Chmiel also announced he’s planning a third major promotion in this year’s third quarter, which happens to include another major sporting event, the World Series. “That’s one we’re definitely looking at,” he said.

Jobless Paris Winslow of downtown San Francisco, California has joined the long line which stretched from the front door on Mission Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, to the corner of Fourth and up the block. “The economy is getting kind of scary. This line looks like those pictures of soup kitchen lines during the 1929 Great Depression,” Winslow said.

“I came all the way from San Francisco for a free $6 meal, Isn’t that pathetic? A year ago, I never would have done this. These days I’m willing to put my ego on the back burner,” said Stephen Weller, a jobless contractor who waited with his dog, Emmett. California Denny’s restaurant managers have issued rain checks (for free chilled meals, as security backed by actual bacon) to anyone who failed to get in by the 2 p.m. deadline.

A big eater could also “Slam It Up” by adding any two additional items for 99 cents each to their meal. Customers on Tuesday were also handed “bounceback” coupon books that include offers for additional free menu items with purchases. Chicago Tribune reporter Kevin Pang has eaten five free Grand Slams on Tuesday at five different Denny’s Diners in four hours. He claims to have consumed 4,100 calories at Harwood Heights, 5:36 a.m, at Schiller Park, 6:22 a.m., at Franklin Park, 7:08 a.m., at Melrose Park, 7:41 a.m. and at Grand Slam No. 5 Oak Park, 8:57 a.m.

“The Grand Slam has always been a Denny’s favorite. This free offer is our way of reacquainting America with Denny’s real breakfast and with the Denny’s brand,” Denny’s CEO Nelson Marchioli said in a statement. In 1977s, the Grand Slam started as a baseball-related promotion in Atlanta, Georgia. Its normal price averages around $5.99. Marchioli said the event was also a way to kick-off its “Year of the Grand Slam” promotion. Denny’s claimed it has sold 12.5 million Grand Slams a year.

“The economy’s tough and people are jumping all the way to fast food to try to figure it out. We all use fast food, whether it’s for time or convenience or for money. But you can go to Denny’s and you don’t have to give up a real breakfast and that was the whole focus of our commercial,” Marchioli explained. McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500) has done well during this economic meltdown since the global recession pushes people toward less expensive dining options.

McDonald’s has announced plans Wednesday to open 175 new restaurants in China this year despite the global economic crisis, thereby increasing the number of outlets in China by 17 percent, from 1,050 currently. Last month, McDonald’s 2008 net profit has risen 80 percent from 2007 to 4.3 billion dollars.

Marchioli has also introduced Denny’s $4 Weekday Express Slam, which is a streamlined version of the Grand Slam. “I want to take back share. For too long, we have allowed others to take share, whether it was Starbucks or McDonald’s. They’re fine competitors and I don’t expect to take all their business from them, but I’d like a little bit back,” Marchioli noted.

According to Rafi Mohammed, author of “The Art of Pricing,” people love free. “It triggers a Pavlovian response in people,” said Mohammed. If Pavlov’s dogs salivate when a bell rings, Denny’s free Grand Slam breakfast has attracted 2 million hungry customers. “I believe free maximizes trial and doesn’t devalue a product as long as it is a rare event. Aside from the cost, the major downside is that it attracts customers who truly have no intention of coming back,” he added.

According to University of Portland consumer psychology professor Deana Julka, people flock to free promotions amid just a few dollars saving because there’s nothing in life for free. “So when there’s something out there that costs nothing, it creates a psychological rush. Especially in these times when people feel overtaxed or overburden, there’s an internal reward people feel by getting something for free,” she said. “It’s being thrifty and feeling like you beat the system. Free really hits the spot for a lot of people,” Julka added.

“Free is an emotional hot button. When free is concerned, there is no downside – or, at least, we don’t see the downside immediately. So we overvalue everything that is free. People love free stuff, particularly when money’s tight,” said Dan Ariely, a business professor at Duke University, author of “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.”

Experts, however, explained these moves need to be done sparingly, since giveaways can teeter in the balance between desperation and a well designed marketing ploy. “Giving your product away for free is not worth it because it undermines your brand value,” said branding expert Rob Frankel, saying people are attached to the idea of it being free, than the actual product itself.

Free giveaways are not anything new in the food industry. “It just feels good when you can get something for free and not have to worry about it coming out of your wallet,” Frankel noted. Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera Bread all have had free coffee and food promos last year. “In November, Starbucks gave away free cup of coffee to anyone who came in on Election Day. Have you taken a look at how Starbucks is doing now?” Last week it has announced it would shut down 300 stores, in addition to the 600 it already planned to close.

On February 24, IHOP will be offering a free shortstack to every customer to encourage donations (in place of the cost) for Childrens Miracle Network. The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is a United States-based restaurant chain that specializes in breakfast foods and is owned by DineEquity. The chain had more than 1950 restaurants in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico. Since 2006, IHOP’s National Pancake Day celebration has raised over $1.85 million. In 2008, over 1.5 million pancakes (12 miles high if they were stacked) were given to customers for donations.

Denny’s (“Denny’s Diner”) is a full-service diner/family restaurant chain in the United States. It operates over 2,500 restaurants in the United States (including Puerto Rico), Canada, Curaçao, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand). The resto chain is known for always being open, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert around the clock.

Today, Denny’s operates about 1,600 restaurants in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. There are also about 578 Denny’s restaurants in Japan operated under a license by a subsidiary of Seven & I Holdings, seven Denny’s locations in New Zealand, and approximately 38 Denny’s diners in the United States. Denny’s headquarters is now located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, headquarters of the parent company Trans World Corporation that acquired Denny’s in 1987.

Denny’s was historically notable for offering a free meal to anyone on their birthday. The offer included a limited number of meal options from a special birthday menu. The promotional ritual ceased in 1993, though occasionally individual franchises will continue the tradition.

In 2008, Denny’s has ceased to be in the ranks among the top diner chains in the $83 billion breakfast market, whose top five firms — McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and IHOP — accounted for 22 percent of the volume. “A lot of consumers have written Denny’s off their let’s-go-there list,” said Ron Paul, president of Technomic, a consulting firm.

Super Bowl XLIII was an American football game between the American Football Conference champion Pittsburgh Steelers (15–4) and the National Football Conference champion Arizona Cardinals (12–8) to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2008 NFL season. It was played on February 1, 2009, at Raymond James Stadiumin Tampa, Florida. It has an attendance of 70,774 and 98.7 million viewers. Pittsburgh earned its sixth Super Bowl win, thus securing sole possession of the record for most Super Bowl wins.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Denny%27s_Super_Bowl_free_%27Grand_Slam_Breakfast%27_brings_2_million_diners&oldid=1521034”

Helpline: Do you know this pianist?


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

On April 8, 2005, police picked up an unidentified man wandering the streets of Sheerness, United Kingdom. The man was wearing a formal black suit and white shirt with all labels removed, and was soaking wet, as if having been in the sea.

He has not spoken a word since he was found, but when given pencil and paper he drew a piano. Seeing the picture of the piano, the medical staff at the Medway Maritime Hospital where he was admitted showed him the piano in the hospital chapel. To their amazement he sat at the instrument and played classical and pop music for several hours.

Many press reports have emphasized the piano playing, and the man has been labelled “The Piano Man” by many news services, although the hospital staff has been calling him “Mr. X.”

However, the chaplain of the hospital, the Reverend Steve Spencer, said the man “is not the virtuoso that he has been portrayed in the press. He knows a small number of tunes and plays them over and over. I recognized some John Lennon and a snippet from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.”

The man also pointed to a flag of Sweden when shown an atlas, initially leading the hospital staff to believe he was from Sweden. To date this lead has not panned out. A different account from the National Missing Persons Helpline (NMPH) indicated that the man actually drew the flag.

The NMPH is appealing to anyone who recognizes the man to contact Teri on +44 20 8392 4509. All calls will be treated as confidential. The NMPH can also be reached at +44 500 700700. Emails can also be sent to id@missingpersons.org.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Helpline:_Do_you_know_this_pianist%3F&oldid=4496666”

Upgrading Skills Through 70 649 Examination


Submitted by: Troy G Castleberry

The MCSE certification is a proof that an individual can work efficiently on different Windows server including the 2003. It also shows that you have the ability in designing, implementing and administering information system using the Windows 2003. This can be a great boost to your profile and CV. Although there are new Microsoft qualifications available, yet still many professionals are taking the 70-649 examination.The good thing about using the practice test is that you can take the test as frequent as you can until such time that you become familiar with all the questions and possible answers.

Facts about 70-649 exam

Taking the 70-649 examination will lead to a certification as a technology specialist. This is an upgrade from Windows Server 2003 to 2008. Any IT professionals can take the examination as long as he or she has the certification for MCSE Windows Server 2003. Likewise, the candidate should have working experience in a computing system both medium and large scale businesses. In the same manner, it is also required to have at least one year working experience in managing and installing network operating system.

Skills required

Before registering for the 70-649 examination it is important to know first the skills so that you will determine if you will qualify. Thus, the examination measures the skills of an individual in the following areas:

Configuring Additional Active Directory Server Roles

YouTube Preview Image

Managing and Monitoring Network Infrastructure

Configuring IP Address and Services

Configuring Terminal Services

Deploying Servers

Configuring Web Services Infrastructure

Moreover, passing the 70-649 examination is a credit toward MCITP: Enterprise Administrator and MCITP: Server Administrator certifications. Likewise, it is also a requirement if you are planning to take other certifications including the following:

MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration

MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Application Platform Configuration

MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration

How to prepare for the examination

Just like taking any other examinations, it is important to have adequate preparation before taking the 70-649 examination. This means that you should know the topics included in the examination so that you will find the right study materials. There are many online vendors offering study materials and other resources that can help in preparing for the examination. However, make sure to choose review materials that are updated and prepared by certified professionals.

There are different materials available including the exam simulators and practice tests. Taking time in answering the practice tests can help in determining if you are doing well in your review process. The good thing about using the practice test is that you can take the test as frequent as you can until such time that you become familiar with all the questions and possible answers.

As much as possible, you should use the review materials recommended by the providing company so that you can ensure that you are getting the right information. Moreover, it is also important to choose the preparation method that would guarantee passing the examination. In fact, you can invest in attending training courses. Though it is expensive but you can expect for the best results.

About the Author: ExamKill offers 15% discount on its exams

examkill.com/70-649.html

and

examkill.com/74-338.html

questions with answers. Use coupon code 3454982810 for 15% instant discount.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=1849067&ca=Computers+and+Technology

Road accidents, suicide, pregnancy and violence among top killers of world’s youth


Saturday, September 12, 2009

A World Health Organisation study published in The Lancet has revealed the main causes of death for people aged 10–24. It has described the majority of these deaths as preventable and suggested solutions to the problems.

97% of the 2.6 million fatalities annually occur in low- and middle-income countries. The age group comprises 1.8 billion people, 30% of the total population. 15% of female deaths were down to “maternal mortality” which included pregnancy complications, unsafe abortions, and mutilation of genitals. Road traffic accidents accounted for 10% of deaths.

6.3% of the deaths were suicides and 6% were down to violence. Tuberculosis and similar lung infections took 10% of the lives and HIV/AIDS killed 5.5%. Most of the deaths were in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Africa and Southeast Asia were also the only places where male deaths were not above those of females, as much of the maternal mortality occurred there. The data came from 2004.

In developed countries, 32% of the deaths were down to road accidents. “There has long been an assumption that young people are healthy, fit and they don’t die,” explained the report’s lead author, Australian children’s health expert George Patton. He goes on to say “I’ve certainly heard politicians and policy-makers make statements of that kind… Some of these problems, related to emotion, are actually very prominent causes not only of death in adolescence, but health problems later in life.”

The study said safer speed limits, more use of helmets and seatbelts, and better enforcement of drunk driving law could greatly curb the road deaths. Maternal deaths and sexually transmitted disease rates could be cut by sexual education, safe abortion clinics, pregnancy support, HIV testing and treatment, and access to contraceptives.

HAVE YOUR SAY
What can be done to help reduce these deaths?
Add or view comments

Violence and suicide could be reduced by education in life skills and an improved role of parents, the study found. It also sought reduction of availability of poisons, firearms, and other dangerous items. In the case of suicide, the study said more work was needed to help young people recover from acts of violence, sexual assault, and child abuse in both the short and long term. Alcohol access reduction was also requested.

The study was conducted by University College London’s Russell Viner, World Health Organization’s Krishna Bose and George Patton of the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Road_accidents,_suicide,_pregnancy_and_violence_among_top_killers_of_world%27s_youth&oldid=4460598”

Yahoo chooses Dublin as location of new European Headquarters


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Dublin — Yahoo!, the internet portal, today announced it has chosen Dublin, Ireland as the location of its European Headquarters. Ireland beat off stiff competition from other European countries to win the investment. The move is expected to create over 400 jobs – two thirds of which are expected to be for graduates with skills in information technology, financial services, customer support and website editorial.

Earlier in the month, Ireland lost a potentially multi-billion euro investment by Dell for a new manufacturing facility to Scotland. This was a huge disappointment for IDA Ireland – the countries main development agency – which had offered heavy incentives to the US computer maker. This brought about fears that Ireland had lost its ability to attract high-value investments from foreign multinationals – the driving force of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger economy.

Speaking about the investment, the Irish Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin, said winning the Yahoo project was a “truly outstanding achievement for Ireland”. Yahoo’s Senior Vice President International, John Marcom, said the decision to locate its European operations headquarters in Ireland was influenced by a “number of factors” which included “the calibre and volume of graduates available in Ireland, the up to date cost competitive telecommunications and data centre infrastructure, and the assistance of IDA Ireland.”

Yahoo is one of the world’s largest internet companies. Its decision to locate in Ireland confirms Dublin’s continued attractiveness to internet and technology companies – Google, Bell Labs, eBay, Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle all have significant Irish operations.

[edit]

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Yahoo_chooses_Dublin_as_location_of_new_European_Headquarters&oldid=4502181”

US presidential candidate Duncan Hunter speaks to Wikinews


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Duncan Hunter is an American politician who has been a Republican member of the House of Representatives since 1981 from California’s 52nd congressional district in northern and eastern San Diego. It was previously numbered the 42nd District from 1981 to 1983 and then the 45th District from 1983 to 1993. Hunter was the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee during the 109th Congress. Hunter is currently seeking the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States. Below is David Shankbone’s interview with the Congressman.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=US_presidential_candidate_Duncan_Hunter_speaks_to_Wikinews&oldid=4467286”

Hollywood sign modified to read ‘Hollyweed’


 Correction — January 22, 2016 The vote on November 9 was of California voters, not the California legislature. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, California was modified to read “Hollyweed” on Sunday. Security camera footage shows the perpetrator was dressed all in black, said Sergeant Robert Payan.

Christopher Garcia, a spokesperson of the Los Angeles Police Department, said the suspected male offender is being investigated for trespassing rather than vandalism. The sign was not physically damaged; the modification was done using black tarpaulins decorated with signs of peace and heart to alter the “O” to read lowercase “e”.

Betsy Isroelit, a Hollywood Sign Trust spokesperson said, “There was obviously recent legislation in California that may have inspired people. But to me, it looks more like a New Year’s Eve prank.” On November 9, legislators voted in favor of a ballot for legalising recreational use of marijuana in California for the age group of 21 and above.

Previously, on January 1, 1976, Daniel Finegood had vandalised the sign using curtains in a similar manner to read “Hollyweed”. As a college student, Finegood had modified the sign for an assignment in art class. Finegood, in 1990, had modified the sign again, signifying a political issue, modifying the sign to read “Oil War” to protest the Persian Gulf War.

The sign was vandalised in 1992 before the US presidential election. Supporters of presidential election candidate Ross Perot altered the sign to read “Perotwood”.

The law legalising recreational marijuana is due to come into effect in 2018.

 This story has updates See Artist who changed Hollywood sign to ‘Hollyweed’ surrenders to authorities, January 12, 2017 
Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Hollywood_sign_modified_to_read_%27Hollyweed%27&oldid=4344721”

Bat for Lashes plays the Bowery Ballroom: an Interview with Natasha Khan


Friday, September 28, 2007

Bat for Lashes is the doppelgänger band ego of one of the leading millennial lights in British music, Natasha Khan. Caroline Weeks, Abi Fry and Lizzy Carey comprise the aurora borealis that backs this haunting, shimmering zither and glockenspiel peacock, and the only complaint coming from the audience at the Bowery Ballroom last Tuesday was that they could not camp out all night underneath these celestial bodies.

We live in the age of the lazy tendency to categorize the work of one artist against another, and Khan has had endless exultations as the next Björk and Kate Bush; Sixousie Sioux, Stevie Nicks, Sinead O’Connor, the list goes on until it is almost meaningless as comparison does little justice to the sound and vision of the band. “I think Bat For Lashes are beyond a trend or fashion band,” said Jefferson Hack, publisher of Dazed & Confused magazine. “[Khan] has an ancient power…she is in part shamanic.” She describes her aesthetic as “powerful women with a cosmic edge” as seen in Jane Birkin, Nico and Cleopatra. And these women are being heard. “I love the harpsichord and the sexual ghost voices and bowed saws,” said Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke of the track Horse and I. “This song seems to come from the world of Grimm’s fairytales.”

Bat’s debut album, Fur And Gold, was nominated for the 2007 Mercury Prize, and they were seen as the dark horse favorite until it was announced Klaxons had won. Even Ladbrokes, the largest gambling company in the United Kingdom, had put their money on Bat for Lashes. “It was a surprise that Klaxons won,” said Khan, “but I think everyone up for the award is brilliant and would have deserved to win.”

Natasha recently spoke with David Shankbone about art, transvestism and drug use in the music business.


DS: Do you have any favorite books?

NK: [Laughs] I’m not the best about finishing books. What I usually do is I will get into a book for a period of time, and then I will dip into it and get the inspiration and transformation in my mind that I need, and then put it away and come back to it. But I have a select rotation of cool books, like Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and Little Birds by Anaïs Nin. Recently, Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch.

DS: Lynch just came out with a movie last year called Inland Empire. I interviewed John Vanderslice last night at the Bowery Ballroom and he raved about it!

NK: I haven’t seen it yet!

DS: Do you notice a difference between playing in front of British and American audiences?

NK: The U.S. audiences are much more full of expression and noises and jubilation. They are like, “Welcome to New York, Baby!” “You’re Awesome!” and stuff like that. Whereas in England they tend to be a lot more reserved. Well, the English are, but it is such a diverse culture you will get the Spanish and Italian gay guys at the front who are going crazy. I definitely think in America they are much more open and there is more excitement, which is really cool.

DS: How many instruments do you play and, please, include the glockenspiel in that number.

NK: [Laughs] I think the number is limitless, hopefully. I try my hand at anything I can contribute; I only just picked up the bass, really—

DS: –I have a great photo of you playing the bass.

NK: I don’t think I’m very good…

DS: You look cool with it!

NK: [Laughs] Fine. The glockenspiel…piano, mainly, and also the harp. Guitar, I like playing percussion and drumming. I usually speak with all my drummers so that I write my songs with them in mind, and we’ll have bass sounds, choir sounds, and then you can multi-task with all these orchestral sounds. Through the magic medium of technology I can play all kinds of sounds, double bass and stuff.

DS: Do you design your own clothes?

NK: All four of us girls love vintage shopping and charity shops. We don’t have a stylist who tells us what to wear, it’s all very much our own natural styles coming through. And for me, personally, I like to wear jewelery. On the night of the New York show that top I was wearing was made especially for me as a gift by these New York designers called Pepper + Pistol. And there’s also my boyfriend, who is an amazing musician—

DS: —that’s Will Lemon from Moon and Moon, right? There is such good buzz about them here in New York.

NK: Yes! They have an album coming out in February and it will fucking blow your mind! I think you would love it, it’s an incredible masterpiece. It’s really exciting, I’m hoping we can do a crazy double unfolding caravan show, the Bat for Lashes album and the new Moon and Moon album: that would be really theatrical and amazing! Will prints a lot of my T-shirts because he does amazing tapestries and silkscreen printing on clothes. When we play there’s a velvety kind of tapestry on the keyboard table that he made. So I wear a lot of his things, thrift store stuff, old bits of jewelry and antique pieces.

DS: You are often compared to Björk and Kate Bush; do those constant comparisons tend to bother you as an artist who is trying to define herself on her own terms?

NK: No, I mean, I guess that in the past it bothered me, but now I just feel really confident and sure that as time goes on my musical style and my writing is taking a pace of its own, and I think in time the music will speak for itself and people will see that I’m obviously doing something different. Those women are fantastic, strong, risk-taking artists—

DS: —as are you—

NK: —thank you, and that’s a great tradition to be part of, and when I look at artists like Björk and Kate Bush, I think of them as being like older sisters that have come before; they are kind of like an amazing support network that comes with me.

DS: I’d imagine it’s preferable to be considered the next Björk or Kate Bush instead of the next Britney.

NK: [Laughs] Totally! Exactly! I mean, could you imagine—oh, no I’m not going to try to offend anyone now! [Laughs] Let’s leave it there.

DS: Does music feed your artwork, or does you artwork feed your music more? Or is the relationship completely symbiotic?

NK: I think it’s pretty back-and-forth. I think when I have blocks in either of those area, I tend to emphasize the other. If I’m finding it really difficult to write something I know that I need to go investigate it in a more visual way, and I’ll start to gather images and take photographs and make notes and make collages and start looking to photographers and filmmakers to give me a more grounded sense of the place that I’m writing about, whether it’s in my imagination or in the characters. Whenever I’m writing music it’s a very visual place in my mind. It has a location full of characters and colors and landscapes, so those two things really compliment each other, and they help the other one to blossom and support the other. They are like brother and sister.

DS: When you are composing music, do you see notes and words as colors and images in your mind, and then you put those down on paper?

NK: Yes. When I’m writing songs, especially lately because I think the next album has a fairly strong concept behind it and I’m writing the songs, really imagining them, so I’m very immersed into the concept of the album and the story that is there through the album. It’s the same as when I’m playing live, I will imagine I see a forest of pine trees and sky all around me and the audience, and it really helps me. Or I’ll just imagine midnight blue and emerald green, those kind of Eighties colors, and they help me.

DS: Is it always pine trees that you see?

NK: Yes, pine trees and sky, I guess.

DS: What things in nature inspire you?

NK: I feel drained thematically if I’m in the city too long. I think that when I’m in nature—for example, I went to Big Sur last year on a road trip and just looking up and seeing dark shadows of trees and starry skies really gets me and makes me feel happy. I would sit right by the sea, and any time I have been a bit stuck I will go for a long walk along the ocean and it’s just really good to see vast horizons, I think, and epic, huge, all-encompassing visions of nature really humble you and give you a good sense of perspective and the fact that you are just a small particle of energy that is vibrating along with everything else. That really helps.

DS: Are there man-made things that inspire you?

NK: Things that are more cultural, like open air cinemas, old Peruvian flats and the Chelsea Hotel. Funny old drag queen karaoke bars…

DS: I photographed some of the famous drag queens here in New York. They are just such great creatures to photograph; they will do just about anything for the camera. I photographed a famous drag queen named Miss Understood who is the emcee at a drag queen restaurant here named Lucky Cheng’s. We were out in front of Lucky Cheng’s taking photographs and a bus was coming down First Avenue, and I said, “Go out and stop that bus!” and she did! It’s an amazing shot.

NK: Oh. My. God.

DS: If you go on her Wikipedia article it’s there.

NK: That’s so cool. I’m really getting into that whole psychedelic sixties and seventies Paris Is Burning and Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis. Things like The Cockettes. There seems to be a bit of a revolution coming through that kind of psychedelic drag queen theater.

DS: There are just so few areas left where there is natural edge and art that is not contrived. It’s taking a contrived thing like changing your gender, but in the backdrop of how that is still so socially unacceptable.

NK: Yeah, the theatrics and creativity that go into that really get me. I’m thinking about The Fisher King…do you know that drag queen in The Fisher King? There’s this really bad and amazing drag queen guy in it who is so vulnerable and sensitive. He sings these amazing songs but he has this really terrible drug problem, I think, or maybe it’s a drink problem. It’s so bordering on the line between fabulous and those people you see who are so in love with the idea of beauty and elevation and the glitz and the glamor of love and beauty, but then there’s this really dark, tragic side. It’s presented together in this confusing and bewildering way, and it always just gets to me. I find it really intriguing.

DS: How are you received in the Pakistani community?

NK: [Laughs] I have absolutely no idea! You should probably ask another question, because I have no idea. I don’t have contact with that side of my family anymore.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on these suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and with their music?

NK: It’s difficult. The drugs thing was never important to me, it was the music and expression and the way he delivered his music, and I think there’s a strange kind of romantic delusion in the media, and the music media especially, where they are obsessed with people who have terrible drug problems. I think that’s always been the way, though, since Billie Holiday. The thing that I’m questioning now is that it seems now the celebrity angle means that the lifestyle takes over from the actual music. In the past people who had musical genius, unfortunately their personal lives came into play, but maybe that added a level of romance, which I think is pretty uncool, but, whatever. I think that as long as the lifestyle doesn’t precede the talent and the music, that’s okay, but it always feels uncomfortable for me when people’s music goes really far and if you took away the hysteria and propaganda of it, would the music still stand up? That’s my question. Just for me, I’m just glad I don’t do heavy drugs and I don’t have that kind of problem, thank God. I feel that’s a responsibility you have, to present that there’s a power in integrity and strength and in the lifestyle that comes from self-love and assuredness and positivity. I think there’s a real big place for that, but it doesn’t really get as much of that “Rock n’ Roll” play or whatever.

DS: Is it difficult to come to the United States to play considering all the wars we start?

NK: As an English person I feel equally as responsible for that kind of shit. I think it is a collective consciousness that allows violence and those kinds of things to continue, and I think that our governments should be ashamed of themselves. But at the same time, it’s a responsibility of all of our countries, no matter where you are in the world to promote a peaceful lifestyle and not to consciously allow these conflicts to continue. At the same time, I find it difficult to judge because I think that the world is full of shades of light and dark, from spectrums of pure light and pure darkness, and that’s the way human nature and nature itself has always been. It’s difficult, but it’s just a process, and it’s the big creature that’s the world; humankind is a big creature that is learning all the time. And we have to go through these processes of learning to see what is right.
Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Bat_for_Lashes_plays_the_Bowery_Ballroom:_an_Interview_with_Natasha_Khan&oldid=2584606”

Grand National winning horse ‘Comply or Die’ dies, aged 17


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Comply or Die, the racehorse who won the 2008 Grand National has died at the age of 17. His death was announced by his former trainer, David Pipe. He died over at the weekend in Gloucestershire, where he had been staying with jockey Timmy Murphy. He was cremated on Monday and his ashes will return to Murphy.

Murphy was the jockey in the saddle when Comply or Die won the 2008 Grand National. Speaking to the Press Association, he spoke about the horse’s death. He said, “He was part of the furniture at home so it’s very sad. He gave me the greatest day of my career, obviously that can never be taken away. He paraded at Cheltenham and Aintree and was getting ready to do some dressage in the summer. I’m not actually sure how he died, to be honest, but it wasn’t nice to come home to. He was cremated on Monday. He was a happy horse and he was also very clever.”

During his racing career he made £798,809 in prize-money after winning a total of eight races.

The 2008 Grand National victory was his greatest achievement and he almost matched it when he came second place in 2009. He retired in 2011 but remained active, often being paraded at race grounds such as Aintree and Cheltenham. He also participated in some hunting activities. Pipe said, “Since his retirement he had been a lead-horse at Timmy Murphy’s establishment before trying his hand at dressage, a discipline in which he had proven very successful”.

Tributes have been paid to Comply or Die on social media by horse racing fans with several tweeting their appreciation and memories.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Grand_National_winning_horse_%27Comply_or_Die%27_dies,_aged_17&oldid=4216560”