Jesus, called the Christ, died upon the Cross, and on the third day (if you count the day he died – it’s actually closer to about half that, sunset Friday to sunrise Sunday) rose again. And not being in a patient mood, rolled aside the stone closing his tomb from the inside (no easy task, but a minor miracle compared to the whole resurrection thing) and set about doing the Lord’s work.
40 days later, he ascended bodily into Heaven, and this time, he stayed there, barring the occasional cameo on a bit of toast.
It is the central event of Christianity: Jesus Christ surrendered to the Romans, was briefly tried by Pontius Pilate, and sent to be crucified. Once up on the cross, he died in an unusually short time (crucifixion is a slow and painful death). In his last words, he called on his heavenly father, saying “Eli Eli lama sabachthani?” (in English “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). (At least, he did according to the Gospels of Mark and Matthew – John and Luke each tell different stories.)
When the Romans came by to break the legs of the crucified (a measure that hastens death), they discovered that Jesus was already dead. He was taken down and buried, rising from the dead on the third day (somewhat undermining the “last words” thing, but he’s the Son of God. Different rules apply.)
Today, these events are commemorated by the eating of chocolate (not introduced to Europe, Asia and Africa until 14 centuries later) delivered by a rabbit (because… I have no idea why).
Named after her best known song, Vera Lynn’s 1943 movie “We’ll Meet Again” was her second film, but her most successful. Much like her character in the film – a dancer who discovers that she is better suited to being a singer – acting didn’t work as well for Lynn as singing.
She spent much of the war years working with ENSA, performing in front of troops in Burma, India and Egypt, and was one of Britain’s greatest sweethearts and inspirational figures during World War Two. For her service to the nation and Empire’s morale, she has been awarded the OBE, made a Dame and even given the Burma Star (a military honour).
One of the greatest killjoys ever produced by the British Isles, Mary Whitehouse was a conservative Christian who decided that it was time that someone put their foot down about all the filth on TV – and that that foot was her. She formed the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, an organisation of similarly inclined busybodies who were motivated by the sheer terror that someone, somewhere, might be having a good time. Determined to prevent this shameful occurrence from happening, she mounted a number of campaigns, all of them notable for their censoriousness and not a few of them for their homophobia. It became a badge of honour amongst British entertainers to be criticised by her.
Whitehouse had a day job as a sex education teacher. One assumes that very few of her students ever successfully reproduced.
One of the truly great albums of all time, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon was something of a change of pace for them – it featured more (and tighter) vocals and fewer instrumental breaks. In many ways, it was the most commercial album of their career thus far, and spawned two hit singles: “Money” and “Us and Them”.
The album charted highly, although it was quickly pushed off its peak in each market. More notable was its longevity – in both Britain and America, the album remained in the top 100 charts for over a decade, and it is one of the top ten selling albums of all time. In addition, it acheived widespread critical success, being highly rated in numerous surveys of both fans and critics ever since its release nearly 40 years ago.
If you don’t actually own a copy yourself, you probably know at least five people who do.
One of the more pointless and vindictive acts on the part of the Allies, the bombing of the German city of Dresden from February 13 to 15 in 1945 was a massive operation consisting of four separate air raids. A total of 3600 planes took place in the raids, which dropped more than 3900 tonnes of incendiaries and high explosives on the city.
The resulting firestorm covered 15 square miles and killed thousands of people – the lowest estimate is 22,000, and the high end runs up to 250,000 – all for a target of little military value. Although Dresden did house industrial facilities, as well as communications and railway infrastructure, none of these were targetted in the raids. Instead, residential and historical landmark areas were bombed.
For these reasons and others – not least the spotlight shone on this event by author Kurt Vonnegut in his book Slaugterhouse Five – the incident remains a controversial one.
Dresden — Cold Chisel
The Hero’s Return — Pink Floyd