Russell Brand on Tour 2017  

After a series of successful shows in 2016, Russell Brand is back for more. The English comedian, actor, radio host, author and activist announced a new stand-up tour of UK and Ireland. The comedian hits the road again in April 2017 for an epic 71-date tour across the UK and Ireland until the end of 2018.

With Re:Birth A Stand Up 2017 tour, Brand claimed he is reinventing himself. He tries to address the questions: “What is real? Who are we? Where did this baby come from?” Meanwhile, he tries to solve the puzzle of modern media, politics, sex, fatherhood and death.
Ever since he rose to fame in 2003, Russell Brand has established himself as one of the top comedians in the industry. But he is not only funny. Brand is also multi-talented and multifaceted; he doesn't only stand out as a comedian but he has also made it as a broadcaster, actor, author, podcaster, columnist, political commentator, and as a mental health and drug rehabilitation activist.
Here is the kind of sense of humor you can expect:
“I couldn't possibly have sex with someone with such a slender grasp on grammar!”
“Have you been out in society recently? ‘Cause it's SHIT.”
“My dad's philosophy was (and I think still is) that life is a malevolent force, which seeks to destroy you, and you have to struggle with it. Only those who are hard enough will succeed. Most people get crushed, but if you fight, in the end life will go, ‘ hell. This one's serious. Let him through”
Here are the 2017 tour dates:
4 April – Corn Exchange, Cambridge
5 April – Derngate Theatre, Northampton
6 April – Watford Colosseum, Watford
9 April – Orchard Theatre, Dartford
12 April – Harrogate Royal Hall, Harrogate
13 April – Victoria Hall, Stoke-On-Trent
18 April – White Rock Theatre, Hastings
19 April – Lighthouse, Poole
25 April – Central Theatre, Chatham
26 April – Margate Winter Gardens, Margate
27 Apr – Salisbury City Hall, Salisbury
02 May – Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
03 May – New Victoria Theatre, Woking
09 May – Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre
10 May – New Theatre – Oxford, Oxford
23 May – Southport Theatre & Convention Cntr, Southport
25 May – Cheltenham Town Hall, Cheltenham
29 May – Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
30 May – Richmond Theatre, Richmond
31 May – Colston Hall, Bristol
06 Jun – Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury
08 Jun – Regent Theatre, Ipswich
15 Jun – Embassy Theatre, Skegness, Skegness
19 Jun – Norwich Theatre Royal, Norwich
21 Jun – Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe
24 Jun – The Auditorium BT Convention Centr, Liverpool Echo Arena
27 Jun – Assembly Hall, Worthing
29 Jun – Stevenage Concert Hall, Stevenage
04 Jul – The Hawth, Crawley
10 Jul – Grimsby Auditorium, Grimsby
27 Jul – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend
01 Aug – Quays Theatre – The Lowry, Salford
19 Sep – Guildhall, Portsmouth
20 Sep – Assembly Halls, Tunbridge Wells
27 Sep – Princess Theatre, Torquay
03 Oct – De Montfort Hall, Leicester
11 Oct – St Davids Hall, Cardiff
12 Oct – York Barbican Centre, York
17 Oct – Leeds Town Hall, Leeds
24 Oct – Reading Hexagon, Reading
31 Oct – Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London
02 Nov – Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
05 Nov – Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Brighton
16 Nov – The Anvil, Basingstoke
21 Nov – Baths Hall, Scunthorpe
05 Dec – Symphony Hall, Birmingham
13 Dec – City Hall, Newcastle
18 Dec – O2 Academy Brixton, London
David Bowie Tribute Stamps Announced  

The UK's Royal Mail has announced a new series of David Bowie stamps. Royal Mail introduced the next installment in their Music Giants Stamp series as a tribute to David Bowie, “one of the most influential music and culture figures of all time.” They marked the date for the release as 14 March 2017.
The 10-stamp collection includes six Bowie album covers (Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, “Heroes”, Let's Dance, Earthling, and Blackstar) and four live shots from tour (The Ziggy Stardust Tour, 1973; the Stage Tour, 1978; the Serious Moonlight Tour, 1983; and A Reality Tour, 2004).
Apart from the Special Stamps, First Day Covers and Presentation Pack, fans can also expect several limited edition David Bowie souvenirs.
For £11.30 you can purchase the Presentation Pack, which includes all six Special Stamps plus the Stamp Sheet. The pack also narrates the career of David Bowie, which was authoritatively written.
For £8.20, you can get the First Day Cover with the six David Bowie Special stamps. The stamps are perfect for collection or as a gift since you can personalize them with the name of your choice. You will see on the stamps the postcode London SW9 which is the one for Brixton, the place where David Bowie was born.
For £5.60, you can purchase the First Day Cover with the David Bowie Live Stamp Sheet. You can also personalize this one with the name and address of your choice. You have the choice to opt for the standard handstamp or David Bowie's London SW9 handstamp.
For £29.99 you can get the stamps framed, featuring all six Special Stamps, individually mounted in a black frame. The dimensions are 27cm x 23 cm and the frames are handmade for Royal Mail in the UK.
You can get the “Heroes” Fan Sheet for £7.50, but you must do it promptly as it is a limited edition of 7,500 and, therefore, subject to availability. The fan sheet features the album artwork and five “Heroes” Special Stamps.
There is also a limited edition of 7,500 of Hunky Dory Fan Sheet, which features the album artwork and five Hunky Dory Special Stamps. Due to being a limited edition like the fan sheet, it is subject to availability, so you must order as soon as you can.
Tributes to David Bowie continue to take place with a number of concerts in the “Celebrating David Bowie” series, Yale hosted a conference dedicated to his and Prince's legacies, and Bowie's likeness has also inspired a few rockstar emojis.
The artist is known for his famous quotes, even expressing to become a superhuman, such as:
“I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring.”
“The truth is of course that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.”


European Capital of Culture 2023  

Despite Brexit, the British government has launched a contest for UK cities interested in becoming European Capital of Culture 2023. So far, the cities that have announced their wish to get the title - which two European cities share every year - include Leeds, Dundee and Milton Keynes.
The UK was selected to host the cultural initiative in 2023 before the country voted to leave the European Union in June, 2016. Since the city that hosts the events is designated by the European Union, it is not yet known whether the EU will allow the UK host the cultural event after triggering Article 50. Nevertheless, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's announcement suggests it is proceeding with the hope that a UK city will host the event in 2023. DCMS blog
The city selected to become the European Capital of Culture organises various cultural events that can lead to increased investment, more jobs and a boost to the local economy. The title can also generate considerable cultural and social benefits, and it can help foster urban regeneration, change the city's image and raise its visibility and profile on an international scale.
According to a study conducted in 2004 for the European Commission, known as the “Palmer report”, demonstrated that becoming the European Capital of Culture served as a catalyst for the cultural development and the transformation of the city.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “Celebrating the cultural heritage and innovation in Britain's cities is part of our plan for an outward-looking, globally-minded and dynamic country.
“The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe. We want that relationship to reflect the kind of mature, co-operative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy.”
His statement has its basis in the fact non-EU cities have held the title in the past - namely, Istanbul in 2010, Stavanger in Norway in 2008 and Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2000.
The UK is no stranger to the title. On the contrary, British cities have previously hosted the cultural initiative twice before - in Glasgow in 1990 and Liverpool in 2008.
In case the UK is allowed to partake in the cultural event, the chosen British city will share the title with a city in Hungary during 2023.
San Sebastian in Spain and Wroclaw in Poland were 2016's cultural capitals, while Aarhus in Denmark and Paphos in Cyprus will share the title in 2017.
The European Capital of Culture scheme is unrelated to the UK City of Culture.
In 2015, Milton Keynes announced its intention to take part in the competition, but no branding or design appointments has been announced yet.
In light of the Brexit vote, a representative of Milton Keynes Council says: “It is early days and it will be a while yet before we really know the impact of Brexit on the Capital of Culture titles. The work we're doing in Milton Keynes is essential to building a strong cultural feature and as such we will continue preparing the sector and the borough as a cultural hotspot.”
After beginning its work on the V&A Museum of Design, Dundee has now launched its bid and Dundee City Council leader, councillor Ken Guild, says: “Dundee's bid will reflect the character of the city and its people... The energy and enthusiasm of the universities and our cultural sector will ensure that we put forward a strong case for the city.”
A cross-EU panel of experts will select the winning UK city to hold the title and the winner will be announced towards the end of 2018.


Christmas Markets in Europe worth a visit  
1. Jena, Germany: this traditional Christmas market offers a festive trumpet fanfare at 5pm from 25 November to 22 December.
2. Birmingham, England: although German markets are more traditional, England also offers jolly and festive German Christmas markets you have to visit, such as the one in Birmingham. With a range of German delicacies and ice skating risk to boot, Birmingham claims its Frankfurt Christmas Market as the largest in Britain. So it better be on your list.
3. Innsbruck, Austria. Innsbruck offer multiple Christmas markets that are incredible picturesque as they are framed by the snow-capped Alps that loom above the town. Enjoy the view while you shop from stall to stall and submerge yourself in the festive spirit.
4. Brussels, Belgium. The Brussels “Winter Wonders” festival stretches throughout the city centre and includes 230 business, a ferris wheel, an ice rink and more.
5. If you find yourself in London during the holiday season, don't miss the Christmas market the Southbank Centre holds along the waterfront. Timeout have a great review of London's best Christmas markets and fairs 2016.
6. Dresden, Germany. With 580 years of trajectory, this enormous market is Germany's oldest and features Dresden's culinary specialty, the traditional Striezel (or Stollen) fruit loaf.
7. Don't miss the countless beautiful Christmas markets in Vienna, especially te Christmas Village Belvedere Palace in front of the famous baroque palace.
8. Glasgow, Scotland. With traders from around the world, this Scottish Christmas market is held int he City Centre on Argyle Street.
9. Krakow, Poland. What better way to submerge yourself in olden times than to shop from a Christmas market in a medieval city - Krakow - and surrounded by snow. This beautiful Christmas market boasts an almost certain blanket of snow by Christmastime, so you can enjoy a typical white Christmas.
10. Bergamo, Italy. As you stroll around this market, you'll be able to listen to the baghet - a traditional instrument similar to the bagpipes. The best day to enjoy the season's festivities in Bergamo is the Feast Day of Saint Lucia.
Bestival, Isle of Wight  

Chills, they're multiplying! Get ready to lose control because the power Bestival is supplying... it's electrifying! This is not a Grease re-enactment, but by the way people dress for this music festival, they might as well burn the whole mile.
And it's just that Bestival is called that way for a reason. While Bestival's line-up is the most electric you'll ever experience, it is the festival's uniqueness what makes it a universe of discovery and adventure, ranging from the most original boutique campsite experience, to the Bollywood Cocktail Bar, a Wishing Tree Stage, fancy dress en-mass and even a Roller Disco.
People dressing up like in “Sesame Street” is not the only surprise; each year they come up with equally odd places to sleep, including yurts, tepees, squrts and wooden beach-style huts.
This mind-blowing event, which takes place in September, is a multi-award four day music festival set at Robil Hill Hear Newport in the heart of Isle of Wight, United Kingdom. Since its foundation in 2004, Bestival has been awarded Best Medium-Sized Festival (2009, 2007, 2006 and 2005), Best Major Festival (2012 and 2010), and Fan's Favourite Festival (2011).
“Organiser Rob Da Bank puts his quirky touches on everything,” says Andy Buchan, Infusion Magazine's Middle East Editor. “From the line-up to the non-music tents which make Glastonbury's Lost Vagueness seem sedate in comparison, it's a winner in my eyes.”
After ten years of pioneering music events and record releases from Rob da Bank and his Sunday best empire, the BBC Radio 1 JD had a dream to create dream of how the modern day festival should be. Today that dream is now fulfilled thanks to Rob da Bank, creative director, his wife Josie da Bank and co-founders John and Ziggy from Get involved.
Bestival's uniqueness is due to Josie and Rob da Bank's creative vision. While Rob enriches the festival's line-up with his massive music experience, his wife give it a creative touch that set it apart from all other events, such as the dress code, campside, bar and roller disco.
Bestival takes place between Thursday 8th and Sunday 11th September 2016 at Robin Hill Country Park near Newport on the lovely Isle of Wight.


15 Fun Facts About Europe  
You think you know everything about good old Europe. Well, here are some interesting facts that will surely surprise. For instance, did you know that the first croissant wasn't invented in France or Italy, but in Austria?
However, what's most striking is that London's underground escalators travel a distance equal to two trips around the world each week. That's a lot of travelling.
They say that Rome wasn't built in a day and the leaning tower of Pisa took a bit longer than that - well, no less than 200 years. Brick by brick over two centuries lead tho this majestic piece of architecture that has become one of the best-known buildings in the world.
That the Turkish community is exceedingly large in Germany should surprise nobody, but what about this fact? Berlin has even more doner kebab places than Istanbul.
We know that Germans like their Christmas period. Indeed, they even invented the Christmas Tree. Plus German markets are also well known. Who hasn't tried a bratwurst or a pretzel at a market during the holiday season? Yet, who was aware that Berlin alone boast more than 60 Christmas markets. Sixty!
Not that you'd be looking for them, but if you are wondering where you can find Europe's highest toilets, then that would be atop Mont Blanc. Hopefully, you don't suffer from vertigo because they are at 4,260 metres.
We all know the majestic Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, but no matter how majestic can you believe that this building, built in contemporary times took longer to build than the Great Pyramids built thousands of years ago.
If you are stranded in Brussels airport, be merry and indulge yourself in some chocolate. Here you'll find more of this sinfully delicious treat than anywhere else in the world.
In Italy, locals never drink cappuccino after 11am. So if you find yourself in Italy and you are not an early riser, you turn to milkshake.
Your First Time in London  
Unforgettable first moments in London abound and are up for grabs. Make sure that when you visit the city, you take advantage of all the magical moments it offers, for “there's in London all that life can afford”.
It might not sound like a thrilling activity, but it will surely make for a hell of a holiday snap if you pose in an iconic red phone booth. Don't you dare turn down this opportunity, otherwise your friends and family might just send you back to London so you can get that traditional picture.
Nobody will believe you visited one of the capitals of the world if you don't get a picture of the Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster. Yes, these pictures flood the Internet and postcards, but you still need your own so go get it.
As if typical pictures of the Big Ben were popular, what about shots of the aerial view from the London Eye, another unmissable landmark when you visit London for the first time.
If you are travelling with a special someone, take a stroll down the Thames as the sun sets and illuminates the water, for an incredible view. Then you can sit on a bench and be mesmerised as the Tower Bridge lights up as the sun descends.
That amazing moment when you see the Buckingham Palace for the first time and feel overwhelmed from its sheer magnitude. Then get amazed five minutes later when you see the Westminster Abbey.
London also offers time travelling like when you feel caught up in the Victorian era as you stumble upon traditionally dressed men on horseback.
The first time you rush to the higher level of a double decker bus so you can admire the view of the city as you are riding the bus.
Another unmissable moment is when you spot the Platform 9 3/4 cart by Kings Cross and you pose for a photo, whether you like Harry Potter or not, this picture is a must-have.
Fun Facts about Spain  
So you think you know everything about Spain? Well, that knowledge is about to be tested. For instance, going to basics... Did you know that the name Spain diverged from the word Ispania, which means the land of rabbits. Perhaps rabbits used to abound when the land was conquered.
Spain is one of the world's top touristic destinations. No doubt the food, the culture and landmarks are on each traveller's bucket list, but it's the beaches what attracts most people from colder countries in Europe. With over 8000 km of coast, there are beaches for every whim.
There is no tooth fairy in Spain but rather a tooth mouse called Ratoncito Perez. Apparently, Spanish kids are not afraid of mouses rolling into their pillows as long as their leave money underneath.
Another reason to attract tourists, and well, Spanish people are known for their willingness to have drinks out, they have the highest number of bars out of all the countries in the EU.
And apparently the local government knows where to invest the money to promote the city. Indeed, Barcelona's city hall provided 1 million euro to fund the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
And the Chupa Chups are not an American invention. The famous lollipops that line cash registers across the world were actually created in Spain by the Catalonian Enric Bernat in 1958.
Even the Coca-Cola has a shady origin. Indeed, Juan Mica claims that his family were the first to invent the drink called Nuez de Kola Coca, which he then took to the US and sold the recipe.
Instead of dancing to Beyonce's tune, on May 15th all the single ladies in Madrid visit the chapel called Ermita de San Isidro to prick their fingers with pins and put it in a vessel, in order to find a husband.
Teenagers in Spain normally start dating in groups when they are 14 years old. s
Things to do in Amsterdam  
With its world-class art museums, its vibrant nightlife and unique Red Light District, Amsterdam remains one of Europe's most diverse and boundary-pushing destinations. Whether you you want to sample Amsterdam's best restaurants, chill out in one of its weed-touting coffeeshops, or pound the cobbled streets for one-off shopping finds, the capital of Netherlands caters to every whim.
If you have a curious mind, you've come to the right place. First, you can explore the past of the city at the Amsterdam Museum, which documents the last eight centuries of urban evolution using quirky objects like 700-year-old shoes. Travel back to the 17th century in the Red Light District as you step into a Church, yes, a church conveniently hidden but really charming called Museums Ons' Lieve Heer op Soldier.
Shop till you drop in the famous flower market. There you can find clogs, tulips, cheese and windmills, put them on the basket of your cycle and feel like you are in an old movie as you ride across the city.
Lose yourself in the city's Canal Belt. Criss-crossed by bridges, 165 canals encircle the city of Amsterdam and keep the sea at bay. The waterways provide an attractive border to the arty locales of the Museum Quarter, the Jordaan and the Pijp. In the land, you can find shops, galleries and quaint cafes.
Have a typical picnic in the Vondelpark, the largest green space in Amsterdam. The park was named after its best-known poet Joost van der Vondel whose play Lucifer caused the religious powers of the time to crack down notorious living. The park is the place to be in the summertime, when people gather to smoke, drink and feast here. With a number of sculptures, the park is also a cultural hub.
Europe's Top Bizarre Events  

You never know what wacky can do and some people have a way to express their freakiness en masse. From bog snorkelling to bed racing, there's a bizarre event Europe for every loony out there.
Germans might be known for being formal and rational, but in their annual Mud Olympics release their inhibitions and get dirty. The event's nature is reflected in its name: revellers play football, hand, volleyball and sledding in the mud. In contrast with the traditional Olympics, Germans forget their competitive nature and focus on having fun more than on winning. Although the event is all about spirit and having a blast, it's also used to raise money for charity. Participants pay an entry fee that is then donated to a local hospital to provide cancer patients with counselling.
If you thought that the pumpkin-related event of the year was Halloween, then you hadn't heard of the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin festival. With about 400,000 pumpkins consisting of 500 different varieties, the event offers countless and every conceivable pumpkin-related activity. The main attraction of the event is the Pumpkin Regatta, in which competitors paddle their hollowed out pumpkin to victory with Germany's Ludwigsburg Palace in the background.
A curious event which has become world famous is the Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake. Held annually on the Spring Bank Holiday at Cooper's Hill near Gloucester in England, the event couldn't be truer to its name - it consists of rolling a 9 lb round of Double Gloucester cheese from the top of Cooper's Hill and racing down the hill after it. The first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese.
Let's get fired up. Leave it to Spaniards to set a city on fire for a fiesta. Set in the city of Valencia in the commemoration of Saint Joseph, the Falles is a week-long celebration of parades and midday fireworks, all night partying and crack-of-dawn marching bands that lead to a massive fire. In one night, Valencians burn almost 350 multi-story sculptures, which amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars of work, risking the city to up in flames.
Equipped with a weighted mountain bike, a mask, a snorkel and occasionally a costume, participants compete at the bottom of a 6ft deep peat bog. Set in the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells, the World Bog Snorkelling Championship takes place every August Bank Holiday.
There might be only one Marilyn Monroe, but in the Latvian capital of Riga, the blonde babies compete dressed up as the iconic Hollywood star. The event called “Go Blonde” is today the world's biggest blonde festival and boasts beach parties and a Harley Davidson bike parade.
There couldn't be a list of bizarre events without a Hospital Bed Race and that's exactly what they do at the Festival of the Unusual, held in July in France. The event's purpose is to highlight the sports nobody thought were possible, are a product of somebody under some kind of influence or a peculiar sense of humour. Apart from hospital bed racing, of course there was going to be a crepe launching at the country where these delicious pastries were born. Most alarming though, there's also apricot kernel spitting, now there's a reason to run for the hills. Strange or not, this is the opportunity for anyone with skills in bed racing or crepe throwing to go down in history and make it to some kind of unusual record book.

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