Jeremy Clarkson by Daniel Dilworth...

Jeremy Clarkson, as I expect everyone knows at this stage, is an English TV presenter and works with the BBC. The BBC was founded in 1922 and one of the first TV stations in the world. TV, or television, was pioneered by John Logie Baird. Baird was originally from Scotland, as was also Alexander Graham Bell. Bell is commonly credited with inventing the telephone, but in actual fact he only made adjustments to the original design of Antonio Meucci. Meucci, though he spent his final years in New York, was originally from Florence and was a friend of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the man who unified Italy in the mid-nineteenth century. Garibaldi wasn’t the sole driver of the rise of Piedmontese dominance on the peninsula; he was ably assisted by Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, and the Romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi. There have been many connections drawn between Verdi and the French composer of the same era, Hector Berlioz, who wrote one of the quintessential compositions of the nineteenth century, Symphonie Fantastique. This symphony was unusual in that it consisted of five movements and not the regular four, and also that the instrumentation required meant only the biggest orchestras could hope to perform it. The symphony, typical of the era, told the story of a man (Berlioz) trying to get together with the woman of his dreams (the actress Harriet Smithson). Smithson was Irish by birth and grew up in Ennis, County Clare. Though not himself from the county, there remains a connection between Clare and Che Guevara. “Che,” as he is affectionately known, came from Argentina. Argentina is a country that lays claim to the British-controlled islands of the Falklands, and has even fought a war for said archipelago. There was controversy recently when a...

Carl Gustaf Mannerheim by Daniel Dilworth...

Carl Gustaf Mannerheim was a Finnish national hero, and is credited with saving Finland from the USSR during the Winter War. This wasn’t the first war the USSR had managed to screw up; in the years immediately after the October Revolution they fought Poland. Poland at the time was led by the dictator Pilsudski. Pilsudski became the most powerful Pole since before the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was partitioned in 1795 between Russia, Prussia and Austria. The imperial capital of Austria was Vienna, a city known for its role in the history of music. It was here where Mozart finished his life. His life, however, was more successful in his home city of Salzburg, a city on the Austrian-German border. Germany borders a total of nine countries, including France and the Netherlands. These two nations share a land border as well, short as it is, on the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean Sea. The islands of the Caribbean have all at one time or the other been ruled by a European country, and this includes part of the Virgin Islands. Though now ruled by the US, they were purchased by the emerging superpower from the unsuspecting kingdom of Denmark. Denmark is a Scandinavian country, and its history is closely intertwined with that of Norway and Sweden. Sweden was once considered a European superpower, though this was back in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Its legacy can be primarily observed by looking at the Åland Islands. These are Swedish-speaking islands in the Gulf of Bothnia. However, after the First World War they were forcibly given to a newly-independent Finland, who in her infant years of statehood, which also involved a bloody civil war, was led by the field marshal Carl Gustaf...

Pompeii by Daniel Dilworth...

Pompeii was an ancient Roman-era town near the city of Naples. Naples has been a city cursed with the Mafia. The Mafia originated on the island of Sicily. The main city on Sicily is Palermo, whose football team’s home shirt is pink. Another football team to play in pink (albeit their away kit) are Wexford Youths. They were founded by Mick Wallace, a TD and developer. Wallace is known for his casual dress sense and his pretty dire haircut. Another politician with a bad haircut is Angela Merkel. Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany. A previous holder of this job was Gustav Stresemann (who incidentally had a better haircut than Merkel.) He was chancellor in 1923, but was the Foreign Minister until his death in 1929. 1929 was also the year of the Wall Street Crash. This economic crash brought down almost all the economies in the world. However, the economy of the Soviet Union survived this pretty well, due to its anti-capitalist stance. The Soviet Union collapsed between the years 1989 and 1991, and Russia was trying to find its feet as a new democratic country. The book Archangel was written about this period by Robert Harris, who also wrote a book about an ancient town called...

The Scottish Premiership by Daniel Dilworth...

The Scottish Premiership has been dominated in recent years by Celtic and Rangers, collectively known as the Old Firm Derby. The Old Firm Derby involves these two big teams from Glasgow. Glasgow is the biggest city in Scotland but isn’t the capital; the capital is Edinburgh. Another example of the administrative city being smaller than the biggest city in the country can be found in Canada, where Ottawa is the capital but Toronto (and Montréal) are bigger. Toronto is home to the CN Tower, one of the tallest buildings in North America. Another tall building in that continent is the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower. Willis Tower is located in Chicago. Chicago is a city which had a crime-ridden past with such “luminaries” as Al Capone resident there. Al Capone was eventually imprisoned in Alcatraz, not for killing anyone, but for tax evasion. Alcatraz is located on an island just off San Francisco. San Francisco is twinned with Cork but Aer Lingus doesn’t fly between the cities; instead, from next April, they will fly from San Francisco to Dublin. From here, you can make a connection flight, still on board Aer Lingus (albeit Regional) to Aberdeen. In the 80s, Aberdeen, along with Dundee United, were known as the New Firm Derby. At this time these two teams dominated a league called the Scottish...

Eric Clapton by Daniel Dilworth...

Eric Clapton is a famous guitarist, with the nickname of Slowhand. Many other musicians have nicknames, such as Frank Sinatra, who was known as Ol Blue Eyes. Sinatra was at the height of his career in the 50s, at the same time as Bobby Darin. Darin was played by Kevin Spacey in the 2004 biopic, Beyond the Sea. Kevin Spacey also appeared in The Men Who Stare at Goats, a comedy film which also featured Ewan McGregor. McGregor, around the time, also appeared in the film adaption of Robert Harris’ The Ghost. The Ghost was directed by controversial film-maker Roman Polanski. Polanski is controversial, though not quite in the saem way, as Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino directed the film Reservoir Dogs, which featured on its soundtrack Stuck in the Middle with You, by Stealers Wheel. Although considered a one-hit wonder, their lead singer, Gerry Rafferty, had a successful solo career. The same case with the band Derek & the Dominoes, who are remembered for a single hit – Layla – but whose lead singer went on to bigger things, and his name was Eric...

Audi by Captain Shamrock...

Audi owns the car company Lamborghini. Lamborghini is Italian, as is Ferrari. Ferrari is one of the most famous brands in the world, and has a chain of shops around the world, including in Venice. Venice is a city built on a series of marshes and canals, similar to St Petersburg. St Petersburg is a Russian city, built by Tsar Peter the Great. This Tsar started the procedure of modernising Russia. Another man to do this was Josef Stalin.  Stalin was a communist, along with Leon Trotsky. Trotsky fled the Soviet Union when Stalin took power and moved to Mexico. Mexico is a country in Central America, famous for the taco, sombreros and drug cartels. Central America is features a few other countries, notably Costa Rica, a country famous for being relatively peaceful in this turbulent area of dictators, possibly due to the fact the country has no army.  Iceland is in a similar position, except it is a member of NATO. Another member of NATO is Germany, home to the German car brand...

From Tom Hanks to Tom Hanks by Daniel Dilworth...

Tom Hanks resided in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York, as did the Italian-American writer Mario Puzo. Mario Puzo wrote a book called The Family, a novel about the Borgias. The Borgias were one of the big families of The Renaissance. Another important family at this time were the Medicis. The Medicis ruled the city of Florence, home to the Statue of David. This is a famous piece of art by Michelangelo. Michelangelo also worked in the Vatican. Another famous artist commissioned by the Pope to work in the Vatican was Raphael, who painted The School of Athens. This painting featured Raphael and his mentor and idol, Leonardo da Vinci (it also has a sulking Michelangelo.) Another famous Leonardo is Leonardo DiCaprio, the famous film star. He starred in Catch Me if You Can alongside Tom...

From Jeremy Renner to Jeremy Renner by Captain Shamrock...

Jeremy Renner appeared in the 2009 film The Hurt Locker which was directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Bigelow was the first woman to win the Best Director award at the Oscars, beating her ex-husband James Cameron. He was nominated for his film Avatar. Avatar is the biggest grossing film of all time. A previous film to hold this coveted title was the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation. The Birth of a Nation was a film set around the time of the American Civil War. The music video to Some Nights is also about the American Civil War. Some Nights is a song by the American band Fun. Fun is an American band, fronted by Nate Ruess. Ruess recently did a collaboration with Pink. Pink has featured in Happy Feet Two, as did Matt Damon. Damon starred in three of the four Bourne films. The star of the other Bourne film was Jeremy...

From McDonnell Douglas to McDonnell Douglas by Daniel Dilworth...

McDonnell Douglas was a major aircraft manufacturer formed by the merger of McDonnell and Douglas. Boeing purchased McDonnell Douglas in the 90s. Boeing were based in Seattle. Another famous product of Seattle is Nirvana. Nirvana were a rock group who were headed by Kurt Cobain. Cobain was married to actress/singer Courtney Love. Love appeared in the movie Trapped, so too did Dakota Fanning. Fanning also appeared in Charlotte’s Web, a film that featured a pig. Another pig-related film is Babe. Babe also had one of the worst sequels in a long time, though not half as bad as some other films. Another film considered by many to be poorer than its predecessor is Quantum of Solace.This film starred Daniel Craig in his second outing as James Bond. Craig has also appeared in Munich. Another actor to appear in this film is Geoffrey Rush. Rush won the Best Actor Oscar in 1996 for his role in Shine and was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor in The King’s Speech. The late Heath Ledger did it the opposite way:  he won the Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Dark Knight, posthumously, and was nominated for the Best Actor award for his role in Brokeback Mountain. He also appeared alongside Mel Gibson in Roland Emmerich’s The Patriot. Emmerich is from Stuttgart, the sister city to St Louis. In a suburb of this city was the headquarters to the aircraft manufacturer McDonnell...

Nickelback to Nickelback by Daniel Dilworth...

Nickelback are a Canadian rock band. Their song from 2001, How You Remind Me, reached No 1 in the Billboard Chart. It was the last song to do this until Viva la Vida, seven years later. Viva la Vida was a song by English band Coldplay. Coldplay’s lead singer Chris Martin is married to actress Gwyneth Paltrow. Paltrow won an Oscar for her role in Shakespeare in Love. Judi Dench also won an Oscar for her role in the film.  Dench appeared as M in the James Bond franchise, but was replaced by Ralph Fiennes. Fiennes appeared in the major Oscar winner The English Patient. That movie swept the board in 1997 with nine Oscars but was beaten the following year when Titanic won eleven. Titanic was directed by Canadian director James Cameron. He is from Ontario. Another famous person from Ontario is singer Avril Lavigne. Lavigne is married to fellow Canadian Chad Kroeger, who is the lead singer of...

San Marino to San Marino by Daniel Dilworth...

San Marino is considered to be the oldest continuous country in the world. In 1993 Davide Gualtieri, a former Sammarinese forward for the national team, scored the quickest goal in professional football in a World Cup qualifier against England after eight seconds. England went on to win the game 7-1 but failed to qualify for the World Cup Finals in the United States. Brazil won it for the fourth time, and so are the country to win the World Cup most often, with five titles; Italy come next, with four. They won the 2006 World Cup in an epic game which featured French legend Zinedine Zidane head butting Marco Materazzi. So Zidane got sent off in his very last game for France. Italy’s win was overshadowed by this and a match fixing scandal involving Juventus, AC Milan and Fiorentina. Juventus come from the famous city of Turin, home to Fiat. Fiat recently took control of Detroit-based car company Chrysler. Chrysler was founded by the same man who built the art deco Chrysler Building in New York, which was at one point the tallest building in the world. It was overtaken by the more famous, and arguably uglier, Empire State Building. The Empire State Building is one of the most iconic buildings in America. Both are in the top 10 on the list of America’s Favourite Architecture, compiled by the American Institute of Architects. Another building on this list is the Lincoln Memorial. This honours the sixteenth president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, before he died, happily received an honorary citizenship to the small, European republic of San...

Ray Cooney to Ray Cooney by Aaron McCarthy...

In 2012 Ray Cooney founded a portal of creative thoughts known as Cloud Of Think. Aaron McCarthy is a  frequent contributor to the Cloud. In January 2013, Aaron published a modern “book-form” adaptation of the Shakespearean play “Macbeth“. Macbeth has been turned into a film many times including an adaptation by Roman Polanski. In 2011 Polanski directed and released the comedy film Carnage. Carnage stars Kate Winslet who got her boobs out for Titanic. In Titanic, Winslet’s character, Rose says, “Look Jack, I’m flying!” The Jack in question was played by Leonardo DiCaprio who recently starred in Django Unchained. Django Unchained was directed by Quentin Tarantino, who also directed the cult classic Pulp Fiction. Pulp Fiction features a song called Son of a Preacher Man. This song was performed by Stacey Solomon who came third in the 2009 X Factor. The year after Stacey, a boyband placed third in the X Factor. This boyband is known as One Direction. One Direction has five members: Liam Payne; Harry Styles (the one who went out with Taylor Swift); Louis Tomlinson; Zayn Malik and the naturally brown-haired, Irish, Niall Horan. One thing that Niall Horan, according to Twitter, does not want to talk about is his “opinion on GAA”. GAA stands for “Gaeilic Athletic Association” and in 2008 a Cork man was elected as its president. This man’s first name is Christy and he shares the same surname as another famous Corkonian, a teacher and writer known as Ray...

From Stephen King to Stephen King by Daniel Dilworth...

Stephen King is an American writer known primarily for his horror stories, which include The Shining. The Shining was made into a film, directed by Stanley Kubrick, and starred Jack Nicholson. Jack Nicholson also appeared in the 2006 film The Departed. Leonardo DiCaprio starred in The Departed as well. He also appeared in Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi hit Inception alongside an array of actors, including the young up-and-coming Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Gordon-Levitt appeared in The Dark Knight Rises as a young cop, who is revealed in the end to be Robin. This character appears previously in the Batman movies of the 1990s, such as Batman Forever. Batman Forever features Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader himself but, in 1984, he featured in the 1984 film Top Secret. Top Secret was made by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker. Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker made the famously hilarious Airplane and The Naked Gun, which both featured the late, great Leslie Nielsen. Nielsen’s character in The Naked Gun, Frank Drebin, was parodied in the opening to an episode of Family Guy. Another episode of Family Guy features a spoof of The Shawshank Redemption, an adaptation of a novella called Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption which was written by Stephen...

From Pan Am to Pan Am by Daniel Dilworth...

Pan American Airways, or Pan Am for short, was a massive American airline up until it was liquidated in the 1990s. Its headquarters in New York was purchased by MetLife in 1981. The MetLife building features as the Get A Life Building in Grand Theft Auto IV. Grand Theft Auto IV features Niko Bellic, who emigrates from Eastern Europe to meet up with his cousin, Roman. Niko fought in a war, which possibly is reference to the Yugoslav War. This war resulted in the independence of Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia. Slovenia has since joined the European Union and now has the euro as its legal tender. There are seventeen countries using the euro as legal tender, including all five countries who have received the EU/IMF bailouts. The IMF, or International Monetary Fund, is headed by Christine Lagarde, the former French finance minister in the government of Nicola Sarkozy. Sarkozy lost the presidency in 2012 to the socialist Francois Hollande. Hollande was the first socialist French president since Francois Mitterrand. Mitterrand fought in World War II and was captured by the Germans. The Germans lost World War II and, as a result, Germany was divided between the democratic west and the communist, totalitarian east. Against this backdrop, in 1961, John Fitzgerald Kennedy made his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. This event was dramatised in an episode of the television programme Pan Am, which was based on the pilots and stewardesses of a plane belonging to Pan American...

From Simple Minds to Simple Minds by Daniel Dilworth...

Simple Minds were a Scottish band who had a big hit in 1989 called Belfast Child, which was about The Troubles and was set to the tune of She Moved Through the Fair. Sinead O’Connor performed this song on the soundtrack to Michael Collins, which starred Liam Neeson. Liam Neeson appeared in The Phantom Menace, the first film in the sequence of Star Wars films. Star Wars was the brainchild of George Lucas, who released the first film, A New Hope, in 1977. This film, along with Indiana Jones, made Harrison Ford a household name. Ford appeared in a minor role in the film Apocalypse Now, which starred Martin Sheen. Martin’s son, Emilio Estevez, appeared in the film The Breakfast Club, which is famous for its opening song Don’t You (Forget About Me), which was performed by Jim Kerr and his band, Simple...

Justin to Justin by Aaron McCarthy...

Justin Bieber is a world-renowned pop star who has recently gone off the rails. Still many pre-teen girls like him and one older girl that liked him enough to date him was Selena Gomez. Selena Gomez is a character in “Wizards of Waverly Place” who plays alongside another Justin…this time acted by a guy called David Henrie. David also acts in “How I Met Your Mother”, playing the part of Ted Mosby‘s future son. Ted is acted by Josh Radnor and Josh grew up in Ohio. Ohio is the setting of musical TV show Glee starring Lea Michele. Lea took part in a PETA Campaign. In 2011 PETA famously slated the Super Mario games by saying that “Mario Kills Tanooki”. The Super Mario games were created by Shigeru Miyamoto and in 2006 Miyamoto was held in such regard as heroes like Mahatma Ghandi. Although he is famed for his peaceful antics, Ghandi had many enemies including Winston Churchill who believed that he had found peace in his day – shortly before the outbreak of World War Two. A key opponent in this war was the Austrian-born German man Adolf Hitler. Hitler had an intense dislike of Jews and one of the Jews who were tortured as a result was Anne Frank. Anne Frank wrote a diary which was adapted by graphic artist Ernie Colón. Ernie also worked on such projects as the comic book series The Flash. Daniel Radcliffe has expressed his interest in playing The Flash in a possible film adaptation. Daniel Radcliffe plays Harry Potter whose rival Draco Malfoy is acted by Tom Felton. In November 2010 Tom made a guest appearance on The Xtra Factor and that month someone else appeared on the show, someone arguably less famous but much, much richer, a guy with a signature hairstyle and a then-unbroken voice, a guy called...

from j.k. to j.k.

by Aaron McCarthy J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series of books, the films of which star Daniel Radcliffe in the lead role. Daniel Radcliffe went out with Rosie Coker, who helped with the cast production of Les Misérables. Les Misérables was written by Victor Hugo who also wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame which was made into a film starring Tom Hulce. Tom Hulce acted alongside Jamie Lee Curtis. She also wrote books illustrated by a woman called Laura Cornell. Laura Cornell works forHarperCollins who published Cheryl Cole‘s autobiography in 2012. Cheryl was born Cheryl Tweedy but changed her surname after her doomed marriage to Ashley Cole. Ashley is a footballer on Chelsea and so is Fernando Torres. Torres appears in a music video by El Conto del Loco who have been nominated for three MTV Europe Music Awards. The second MTV Europe Music Awards was hosted in France and in 2009 the then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy presented a Legion of Honour Award to a British author. That author was called J.K....

From FIFA to FIFA

FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter hasn’t always been everyone’s favourite person. In the aftermath of Ireland’s famous loss to France at the hand of Thierry Henry, John Delaney of the FAI sheepishly asked for Ireland to be included as the thirty-third team competing in the World Cup in South Africa. Oscar Pistorious the Olympian, a South African, is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkampf by shooting her. As a result, he lost his lucrative contract with Nike. Snoop Dogg, strangely, bought shares in Celtic Football Club who are sponsored by Nike. Celtic were knocked out of the UEFA Champions’ League recently by Juventus. Michel Platini, a former Juventus player, is the President of UEFA. He also played with France for many years, with distinction. In the 1986 World Cup Semi-Final, Platini missed a penalty by firing it over the bar. That contest featured Diego Maradona who, with “the hand of God“, defeated England in the other semi-final and that contest was run by...