Tuesday, 17 December 2013

THE WAY THEY WERE: Celebrating Peter Tosh on the page + Recalling Peter O'Toole's illustrious life on-screen

WHAT ABOUT TOSH? A new book makes the case for the icon's place in history
Remembering Peter Tosh is a timely and long-awaited salute to the influence and inspiring journey of the late reggae icon whose exploits while he was among us led to personal and professional breakthroughs, including critically acclaimed albums and a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album (for 1986's No Nuclear War). Edited and compiled by Ceil Tulloch, a Kingston-bred, State University of New York grad, the new publication is filled with engaging remembrances from colleagues and friends who knew Tosh best, like Dermott Hussey, Garry Steckles, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. And, according to publishers Ian Randle Limited, the book represents a long overdue testimony to a musician whose own compelling story has been largely overshadowed by that of Bob Marley and his larger-than-life success. Reggae historian David Katz seems to agree. "Tulloch's important and timely Tosh compendium reminds us that [he] was a major figure, not only in reggae, but in the realm of contemporary music more generally." 

CURTAIN CALL: Hollywood bids adieu to the legendary Peter O'Toole
Another Peter consistently associated with a sense of mystery and extraordinary artistic excellence is Peter O'Toole, the silver-screen legend who drew his final breath this past weekend at age 82. To say the very least, O'Toole led a remarkable life in the movies, and though he never won, he was nominated on numerous occasions for the highest honour in cinema, the Academy Award (the Oscar), most recently in 2011 for his pitch-perfect turn as an aging recluse who takes a young girl under his wing in Venus, my favourite film of his. But O'Toole's definitive role came much, much earlier in his career when he headlined director David Lean's vision of Lawrence of Arabia in 1964, wowing critics who described his work as one of the great performances of the 20th century. Known for his flambuoyant manner and candour, the leading man also excelled in the theatre (Hamlet was a particularly memorable role for him) and was known to charm his leading ladies like the great Katherine Hepburn, with who he shared the screen in 1968's The Lion in Winter. In short, Hollywood has lost one of its all-time fiercest leading men, a true gentleman in life and matters of the arts. As he once immortally observed, "If you can't do anything willingly and joyfully, then don't do it."

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