Friday News: RIP Alan Rickman, Mills & Boon “man of the year,” the Ladybird parodies, and Star Wars meets Winnie the Pooh
Alan Rickman dead: Harry Potter actor had the most perfect voice, according to science – Like David Bowie, Alan Rickman died at 69 from cancer. Eerie and sad, to say the least. While there are many wonderful tributes to the actor online (I love this one on Rickman as a “working class hero”), I thought this article on Rickman’s voice was particularly noteworthy, because it identifies his voice as number on with regard to an algorithm that identified “a combination of good tone, speed, frequency, words per minute and intonation.”
The study found that the ideal human voice would be Alan Rickman’s, combined with fellow great English actors Jeremy Irons and Michael Gambon, who starred alongside Mr Rickman in the Harry Potter films.
Other voices that came out on top included Mariella Frostrup and Dame Judi Dench. – The Independent
Mills & Boon reveals ‘man of the year’ cover winner – I wasn’t aware that Mills & Boon had a “man of the year” contest, but this year’s winner is Courtney Hayles, who appears on Barbara Hannay and Nikki Logan’s It Had to Be You, which releases from Mills & Boon on January 28th. This article from Hello Magazine features a video of Hayles reading a chapter from the book. I love that the contest doesn’t appear to be just about beefcake (despite Hayles’s obvious good looks and sex appeal), and Hayles has a great take on the ideal romantic hero:
“The modern day hero isn’t about Prince Charming good looks, fame or money,” Hayles said. “Today’s hero can be complex, with challenges and struggles but he has a good heart, a sense of humour and a strong character. Best of all, he’s a true friend who you can rely upon. I am delighted that the judges saw those traits in me and that I have the chance to represent the Mills & Boon hero for millions of readers worldwide.”
Mills & Boon received hundreds of entries from men of all ages across the UK and over 4,000 votes for the shortlisted contenders when it launched Man of the Year in October 2015. – The Bookseller
The Curious Case of the UK’s Popular Ladybird Parodies – This is a pretty complicated story that starts with a woman named Miriam Elia, who, in 2014, self-published a parody of the famous UK “Ladybird” books, which are small books that illustrate different concepts for children. Penguin Random House, which owns the copyright to the original books, sued Elia for infringement, prohibiting her from selling her version of the book, even though it was a parody. Ultimately, Elia rewrote her book to diverge even further from the original books, and republished her new version, which, thanks to publicity from the lawsuit and Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris, who created spoof titles and covers for the Ladybird books more than ten years ago. Although Elia claims she never saw these, Hazeley and Morris are now producing Ladybird spoofs for PRH, which are being sold across the UK, along with Elia’s re-envisioned book. Although the outcome is viewed by many as a fair compromise, not everyone is a fan of how PRH handled the situation with Elia:
The threat of legal action receded following an adjustment to UK copyright law relating to “caricature, parody or pastiche,” and PRH also apparently failed to provide copyright documents to support its claim.
The case received a lot of publicity, some of it not too flattering to PRH. There is nothing the media likes more than the lone individual standing up to the mighty conglomerate. Rather embarrassingly for Penguin, Elia also received support from someone with a strong connection to Sir Allen Lane, the founder of Penguin itself (hence the Allen Lane non-fiction imprint today). She was sent a statement from Mark Dolley, whose father Christopher, was appointed by Allen Lane as his successor in 1969. Christopher Dolley served as both Director of the Penguin Publishing Company and was later joint MD. He wrote: “Both Lane and my father must be rolling over in their graves at Penguin today both missing a commercial opportunity and also making a crass attempt to stifle art. Far from trying to ban her work, both would have offered Ms Elia a commission … Ms Elia is to be commended for her contribution to the spirit and memory of a great British publishing tradition.” – Publishing Perspectives
‘Star Wars’ Meets ‘Winnie the Pooh’ in These Adorable Mashup Drawings – Check out James Hance’s adorable drawings.
In the series, Hance’s hybrid protaganist, called Wookiee the Chew, takes to the Hundred Acre Wood with other Star Wars characters. Joining the stuffed co-pilot on his adventures are a young Christopher Robin dressed like Han Solo, At-Ore (half AT-AT, half Eeyore), Tauntoo (a Tauntaun and Little Roo hybrid), and other nods to both properties. The scenes are illustrated in the style of the classic watercolor paintings most people associate with the A.A. Milne characters. – Mental Floss