——– MANTEX NEWSLETTER ——–
Number 182 – January 2013 – ISSN 1470-1863
Arts, Culture, and Technology as seen from
the digital hub of Media city Manchester UK
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0— VARIAN FRY: The American Schindler
During the second world war, hundreds of famous
and talented refugees were smuggled out of France
to save them from the concentration camps and
the gas chambers.
The man responsible was a very quiet American whose
story has taken a long time to become better known.
Varian Fry was an agent working secretly in Marseilles,
and the list of people he rescued goes from Hannah Arendt
and Marc Chagall, via Marcel Duchamp and Wanda Landowska,
to Heinrich Mann, Max Ophuls, and Claude Levi-Strauss.
The full story is here:
0— Pub Quiz – Question #01
In Greek mythology, who was the wife of Orpheus?
0— More INTERESTING BIOGRAPHIES – I
She was one of the people Varian Fry helped
to escape from the Nazis. Formerly married to
the composer Gustav Mahler, and then to the
architect Walter Gropius, she fled with her
third husband Franz Werfel. She kept her
spirits up with a bottle of Benedictine a day.
More on her colourful life here:
He is the least known, most under-rated, and
possibly the greatest male torch singer ever.
He was singing in the 1940s with people such as
Lionel Hampton and Billy Holiday (who was a big fan)
and amazingly (for a life in jazz) he’s still alive.
His story is a heart-rending tale of suffering,
poverty, neglect – and redemption through art.
0— Pub Quiz – Question #02
What do the initials HSBC stand for?
0— HATCHET JOB OF THE YEAR
Literary magazine The Omnivore has come up
with a special award – for the most vitriolic
review of a book published in the last year.
The shortlist this year includes reviews of
novels by Martin Amis and Andrew Motion, a
biography of Hitler by A.N.Wilson, Naomi Wolf’s
reflections on the female pudenda, and Salman
Rushdie’s memoir of his time under the Fatwah.
It’s not clear if you can vote or not, but the
reviews are reproduced in full, and you can read
other reviews of the same book at the site.
0— Pub Quiz – Question #03
What is the name of the Lone Ranger’s horse?
0— REVISION & EXAMINATIONS
There are examinations hovering in the near distance.
Both mock-exams and the real thing come around Easter.
To prepare yourself or your students for the skills
they might need, have a look at our amazingly low-price
downloadable PDF eBook. Read it on your laptop or your iPhone.
And if you are a new course tutor, faced with the
prospect of marking all those exam scripts – then
why not profit from the tips and shortcuts offered
on marking assignments in our eBook “Marking Essays”
0— Pub Quiz – Question #04
What is Orange Pekoe?
0— (Virtually) F.R.E.E BOOKS
In the last couple of weeks I’ve bought three
books on Amazon for a penny each. Yes – that’s
ONE PENNY – and they were NOT tatty old paperbacks,
but hardbacks of 400 pages plus, in tip top condition.
Why would anybody sell you a book for a penny?
Answer – to get you onto their mailing lists.
Of course, you’ve got to pay the postage. But with an
average charge of GBP 2.50 – ask yourself if it would
cost that much to travel to your nearest BIG bookshop
If you are looking for classics, out-of-the-way titles,
or well known reference books, it’s worth searching Amazon
I did a sample test, and came up with the following.
All were available for ONE PENNY. Be prepared to do a
bit of clicking around.
“Roget’s Thesaurus” [hardback]
“Portrait of a Marriage” [hardback]
“Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable” [hardback]
“iPhone UK The Missing Manual” [paperback]
“Style: ten lessons in clarity and grace” [paperback]
0— Pub Quiz – Question #05
From which milk is Roquefort cheese made?
0— THE HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Britain has been invaded by many different
nations in the past – the Romans, Anglo-Saxons,
Vikings, and French. As a result they’ve left
behind a cultural influence that gives English
the most extensive vocabulary of any language.
Well into the Renaissance the official language
of Britain was French, and even as recently as
the seventeenth century a writer such as John
Milton produced most of his work in Latin.
This collection of academic essays on the history
of English language traces its development from
Indo-Germanic origins, right up to the present day.
0— Pub Quiz – Question #06
Which is the world’s smallest independent state?
0— NEW MEDIA STUDIES
I realised recently that with the exception of
BBC2 Newsnight, I spend more time watching
YouTube than I do television. Sign of the times?
It turns out I was right. Young media savvy types
are by-passing TV and launching their films straight
You can watch programs when and where you wish, and
these guys make a good living via advertising.
0— Pub Quiz – Question #07
In which American state is the Grand Canyon?
0— More INTERESTING BIOGRAPHIES – II
He may have been married to the more famous Virginia,
but Leonard Woolf was a fascinating man in his own right.
He wrote principally about international politics, and
was instrumental in setting up what became the United Nations.
He was a very successful publisher, a journalist, and
(not many people know this) he had an affair with his
business partner’s wife that lasted thirty years.
She was rich, bohemian, well-connected, and a
passionate art collector, with a penchant for
surrealism. You can see the results at her
gallery in Venice. (Not those in New York or
Bilbao – that’s another branch of the family)
Her private life was a curious mixture of multiple
affairs, several husbands, oceans of champagne,
and nude sunbathing on the roof of her Grand Canal
palazzo, surrounded by gay servants.
0— Pub Quiz – Question #08
Who wrote the war trilogy ‘Men at Arms’?
0— More MEDIA NEWS
‘Four technologies that killed HMV’
I’ve posted here before about the fall in
CD prices. Unless you’ve got money to burn,
you’d be daft to pay more than three quid.
Now HMV has bitten the dust because of digital
technology. And you could see it coming.
1. Online music – such as iTunes – makes it
easier to pick and choose your tracks, and
2. The Amazon effect – one click ordering
and immediate downloading, plus low prices.
3. Smartphones – you don’t need to go to a
shop: just download and listen to it *now*
on one portable device.
And so far as I’m concerned –
4. Spotify – I listen all the year round to
any music I wish for the price of one CD a month.
0— Pub Quiz – Question #09
Who painted ‘The Girl with a Pearl Earring’?
0— AMAZON – Control Freaks?
Every time I buy a book from Amazon, the
transaction is rapidly followed up with a
request for a review of the book.
I decline, because Amazon won’t let me include
a link to the Mantex site.
Now they’ve started to ban reviews by authors
in the same genre. If you’ve written a science
fiction novel, you can’t review somebody else’s.
This started because some writers were submitting
fake online reviews, boosting their own work and
knocking the work of their rivals.
Some authors think this is a step too far:
0— Pub Quiz – Question #10
How many legs does a crab have?
0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS
#1. In Greek mythology, who was the wife of Orpheus?
#2. What do the initials HSBC stand for?
ANSWER: Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
#3. What is the name of the Lone Ranger’s horse?
#4. What is Orange Pekoe?
ANSWER: A type of tea
#5. From which milk is Roquefort cheese made?
ANSWER: Sheep’s milk
#6. Which is the world’s smallest independent state?
ANSWER: The Vatican City
#7. In which American state is the Grand Canyon?
#8. Who wrote the war trilogy ‘Men at Arms’?
ANSWER: Evelyn Waugh
#9. Who painted ‘The Girl with a Pearl Earring’?
#10. How many legs does a crab have?
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