Monday, September 18, 2017

Watches: The Cartier Tank, at 100

ank. It’s not the most obvious name for a watch. But it is highly symbolic. Today, everyone knows what a tank is, but these armoured vehicles were unknown before the First World War, when they made their first appearance on the battlefield. Despite their unfamiliarity, they were considered powerful symbols of progress and modernity. History tells us that Louis Cartier was impressed by the armoured vehicles made by Renault. But would he really have named a watch after them? It’s not impossible, because the Tank watch he designed does reflect the shape of a tank seen from above – a square framed by two parallel sidebars where the caterpillar tracks would be. The newness of these machines could also have been a factor for Louis Cartier who, after having made a wristwatch in 1904 for his friend, the aviator Santos Dumont, was interested in designing a new kind of watch. He wanted to create something that was free of tradition, stamped with modern design, which at the time was characterised by geometrical architecture and formal rigour. He wanted it to become a practical but elegant must-have accessory.
Tank, cent ans de succès
Tank model from 1919

Intemporal design

Today, one hundred years on, as the Tank celebrates a momentous anniversary, it has lost none of its distinctive flair or its power to charm. As unstoppable as the war machine that inspired it, it has continued to thrive through the years, adapting to different fashions and artistic styles, transformed into around forty different iterations, in a variety of sizes and materials, set with gems or plain, that have appealed to utterly different generations of men and women, while retaining its original features right up to the present day. The Tank watch is a fusion of square and rectangle. The bracelet is attached to the case via the lateral bars or brancards that continue beyond the case to form the lugs. The dial is generally white, with Roman numerals and a minutes track; the blued hands are sword-shaped (or, on early models, Breguet-style apples), and the crown is set with a sapphire cabochon.
Tank, cent ans de succès
Tank Anglaise © Cartier

Around the world

The Tank watch has travelled around the world, while remaining scrupulously faithful to its signature aesthetic. The Tank Chinoise of 1922 evokes the entrance to a Chinese temple; the Tank Américaine of 1989 is curved, the rectangle is softer and the brancards are rounded; the Tank Française of 1996 has a metal bracelet; and the Tank Anglaise of 2012, driven by manufacture movement 1904-PS MC, has its crown recessed into the bezel.
Following on from the Tank Louis Cartier model of 1922, with its softened rectangle, the Tank proceeded to play around with the rectangular shape, stretching it out horizontally (the Tank Divan of 2002) and vertically (Mini Tank Allongée, 1960), and even in both directions at once, with the Tank Asymétrique of 1936 and the Tank Oblique of 1963. In the heyday of the Must de Cartier in the ’70s it also took on some colour, with coloured dials in precious materials (onyx, coral), innocent of any numerals. It also succumbed to the futuristic vision of the 1920s, in a disconcerting dial-less version with apertures for jumping hours and minutes. Another original model that appeared at around the same time as the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso was the Tank Basculante of 1932, designed to protect the dial during sporting activities. The more recent Tank Louis Cartier Squelette Saphir and Manufacture Cartier Squelette, with manufacture movements, express the technological and aesthetic trends of our time.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sport: Its Ricketts, Jamaica Football Baton passes to Clarendon Chief

It was campaign invested with drama from beyond.

The passing of talismanic Jamaican football boss Horace Burrell, essentially midway through his four-year term, threw open the administration of football for a new leader at what could hardly be a more critical time.

With the embarrassing impasse between the Premier League Clubs Association and the Professional Footballers Association with Premiere League Club Montego Bay United and the larger issue of  moribund finances hanging over the body, and the added challenge of a FIFA-mandated audit (which JFF Finance Director Garry Sinclair indicated was part of an annual draw by the world body), the 13 Parish Associations had a lot consider in casting their respective votes  for the  two contenders.

In the end, the affable yet somewhat media-shy head of the Clarendon FA, Michael Ricketts, who polled the comfortable majority of 8 votes to 5, defeating former Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) boss and well-known football pundit, whose response to the outcome made it all but clear that he intends to challenge forthe post when the elections come up again in 2019.

Meanwhile, the new President, thankful and magnanimous in victory, declared himself "excited, elated but humble" and recognizing the scope of the task ahead of him.

In this regard, a key figure is VP and Finance Director Garry Sinclair, who is already bringing his experience combatting financial adversity at telecoms giant FLOW. In  a prelude to the President's contribution to the post-election Press Brief says the organization is strengthening its marketing

The Finance head also debunked a widely circulated report that the JFF was drowning in debt to the tune of almost 400million. Aided by General Secretary Raymond Grant, the media were told that the deficit, as at end of June, was J$265.1 million, and that the organization was actively negotiating with its creditors - including the commercial banks - to sacle that very daunting mountain.

Meanwhile, in his first official announcement, the new President read an agreement between the aforementioned parties for the start of the 2017-18 Red Stripe Premiere League on Sunday September 24. regarding contentious club Mobay United, the President advised that the club will be paid the full amount in question, sans interest and less any fines and statutory deductions.

He said he was confident that his team had the mental wherewithal to solve the problems of the psort, with the requisite support from the Associatioions and the staff and.....of course.....the public

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Auto: new "Disco" from Land Rover

Land Rover has unveiled an even more hardcore Discovery SVX model that makes the SUV even more capable off-road.
Making its debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Land Rover Discovery SVX gets increased ground clearance, body and suspensionlifts, more wheel articulation and new all-terrain tires. A Hydraulic Active Roll Control (H-ARC) system is new to the SVX model and enhances off-road traction and allows for better body control all while minimizing body roll for on-road driving.
Raising the aluminum monocoque structure and adding a four-corner air suspension system has increased approach, departure, and breakover angles and the SUV gets new 275/55 R20 Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires.
This special Discovery will be powered by a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that outputs about 517 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed transmission and the SUV gets a new “Pistol Shifter” instead of a rotary selector. Of course, the SVX is equipped with an active center and electronic rear locking differential, along with hill descent control, electronic traction control, DSC and all-terrain progress control that works with the Terrain Response 2 System to ensure drivers have traction in all types of conditions. 
Visually, the Land Rover Discovery SVX production preview vehicle on display in Frankfurt gets an anti-glare hood, integrated rear winch, unique front and rear bumpers that have new protective skid plates, and exposed orange metal tow hooks each rated to hold six tons. Black roof rails and a roof-mounted light pod complete the off-road transformation.
The Land Rover Discovery SVX will be the first Land Rover hand-assembled at the SVO Technical Centre in the U.K. when production begins in 2018.

Monday, September 11, 2017

National Affairs: China, Jamaica reach MOU on education

2016-12-15 15:26:00
Du Zhanyuan, China’s vice minister of education, met recently with a Jamaican delegation led by Ruel Reid, Jamaica’s minister of education, youth and information.
The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on mutual placement of teachers.
Du Zhanyuan praised the countries’ cooperation in student exchange, language teaching, and talent cultivation, and indicated that China is willing to send teachers to Jamaica to help strengthen its disciplinary construction and talent development.
Du also expressed the wish that two countries will further improve their education cooperation level and enrich contents to deepen their relationship.
Reid said Jamaica hopes to cooperate with China in vocational and technical education, educational informationization, and construction of laboratory research and mathematics.
He emphasized that education exchanges and cooperation between China and Jamaica will help promote mutual understanding and friendship.

Music: Van Morrison Ready to "Roll With the Punches"

Van Morrison has announced that he will be releasing his 37th studio album, Roll With the Punches, on September 22. 

The album will include 15 tracks: a mixture of originals and hand-picked covers of rhythm and blues classics by the likes of Bo Diddley, Mose Allison, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Roll With the Punches was produced by Morrison and features a star-studded team of collaborators, including Chris Farlowe, Georgie Fame, Jeff Beck, Paul Jones, and Jason Rebello.
“From a very early age, I connected with the blues,” said Morrison through an official statement published on his website. “The thing about the blues is you don’t dissect it – you just do it. I’ve never over-analyzed what I do; I just do it. Music has to be about just doing it and that’s why the blues works – it’s an attitude. I was lucky to have met people who were the real thing – people like John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Witherspoon, Bo Diddley, Little Walter and Mose Allison. I got to hang out with them and absorb what they did. They were people with no ego whatsoever and they helped me learn a lot.”
For more information, go to

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Movies: King's Killer Clown Still HAs "It" at box office

The two-month domestic box office drought has ended emphatically with New Line’s horror-thriller “It” heading for a massive opening weekend of an estimated $103 million at 4,103 North American sites.
It’s the biggest domestic launch since “Spider-Man: Homecoming” opened with $117 million on July 7-9 and the fifth best launch weekend of 2017 after “Beauty and the Beast,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Wonder Woman.”
Based on the 1986 Stephen King horror novel, “It” is attracting moviegoers in numbers far above earlier forecasts, which were in the $65 million to $75 million range. The R-rated title, which focuses on a group of adolescent friends  battling a small town’s demon, is the 47th movie to open above $100 million domestically.
“It” wound up with $51 million on Friday, which included a stellar $13.5 million from Thursday night previews — the third-largest preview number for 2017, trailing only Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
Hurricane Irma will hold down moviegoing in the Southeast this weekend with the massive storm expected to hit Florida and Georgia late Saturday. Irma could dent weekend attendance by as much as 5%.


But the weekend should be the first in two months to wind up above the comparable 2016 frame, which saw “Sully”  open with $35 million. The North American summer box office plunged 14.6% to $3.8 billion, the lowest  total since 2006, according to comScore.
Open Road’s  romantic comedy “Home Again,” starring Reese Witherspoon, was heading for a distant second place in line with expectations with $8.6 million at 2,940 sites.
PostTrak data from comScore showed strong audience reaction to “It” previews, with 48% calling the movie “excellent” and another 38% rating it “very good.” Made for about $35 million, “It” stars Bill Skarsgard as the evil clown Pennywise along with Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Jaeden Lieberher, and Jackson Robert Scott.
“It” has plenty of critical support with an 88% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Directed by Andy Muschietti, “It” will smash the record for largest September opening set by “Hotel Transylvania 2” in 2015 with $48.5 million, along with the mark for biggest opening weekend by a horror or supernatural film, held by 2011’s “Paranormal Activity 3” with $52.6 million. New Line is already working on the second part of the story with Gary Dauberman officially hired to script and Muschietti expected to return.
Lionsgate’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” which has won the last three weekends, will likely lead the rest of the pack in third with around $4 million. The action-comedy has generated $59 million in its first three weeks.

TV: Amazon Ups the Ante

The mandate from Jeff Bezos is clear: Bring me “Game of Thrones.”
That’s the word that has the creative community buzzing this week about a major strategy shift underway for Amazon Studios’ original series efforts.
The CEO of the e-commerce giant is said to have tasked Amazon Studios chief Roy Price with honing the focus on high-end drama series with global appeal. Amazon’s decision this week to scrap plans for a second season of period drama “Z: The Beginning of Everything” reflects the new marching orders.
On Friday, Amazon confirmed five new projects — series greenlights for a period drama from Paul Attanasio and Wong Kar-wai and a comedy starring Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph; two comedy pilots; and a Seth Rogen-produced comic book adaptation eyed as a straight-to-series order — that reflect the drive to find shows that deliver sizzle in the water-cooler environs of social media and can travel around the world.


In an interview on Friday, Price told Variety that there is a new focus on finding “big shows that can make the biggest difference around the world” in growing Amazon Video’s reach and Amazon Prime subscribers. “Tong Wars,” the drama penned by Paul Attanasio and directed by Wong, is a prime example of a period piece that blends the epic history of Chinese immigration to the U.S. with a crime potboiler. “It’s a very compelling show,” he said.
Price said the strategic course has been informed by the wealth of data available to Amazon and is the consensus of senior management, including Bezos.
“It comes out of analysis of the data and conversations among the leadership team,” Price said. “We’ve been looking at the data for some time, and as a team we’re increasingly focused on the impact of the biggest shows. It’s pretty evident that it takes big shows to move the needle.”
Price cited Amazon’s “Man in the High Castle,” the unscripted “Grand Tour,” and the new comedy “The Tick” as examples of existing shows that fit the bill of having global appeal. And he doesn’t mince words about his interest in finding a show that packs the wallop of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
“I do think ‘Game of Thrones’ is to TV as ‘Jaws’ and ‘Star Wars’ was to the movies of the 1970s,” Price said. “It’ll inspire a lot of people. Everybody wants a big hit and certainly that’s the show of the moment in terms of being a model for a hit.”
Price pointed to the move Amazon made in January to recruit former Fox International Channels exec Sharon Tal Yguado to lead a new event series development unit focused specifically on sci-fi, fantasy and genre series. Price pointed to AMC’s “Preacher” and Starz’s “American Gods,” shows that Amazon carries in multiple markets outside the U.S.
“The biggest shows make the biggest difference around the world,” Price said. “If you have one of the top five or 10 shows in the marketplace, it means your show is more valuable because it drives conversations and it drive subscriptions. … We’re a mass-market brand. We have a lot of video customers and we need shows that move the needle at a high level.”
With this focus, Amazon could not justify moving ahead with season 2 of “Z.” Industry sources said Karl Gajdusek, the showrunner recruited to steer season 2 of “Z,” was plainly told of the shift in strategy when the surprise call came down on Thursday that the show was being shuttered. Gajdusek and his team of writers had been working for several weeks on getting the 10-episode order ready for production. “Z” starred Christina Ricci as Zelda Fitzgerald, the socialite wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and a legendary figure from 1920s Jazz Age lore.
Price said the decision on “Z” came down to a simple matter of priorities. He notes that Amazon has an ongoing development pact on the film side with Killer Films, one of the show’s producers.
“We’re glad we did ‘Z.’ We’re proud of the work done on it and the team we had on it,” Price said. “At the end of the day you only have so many slots. With those slots you have to drive viewership and drive subscriptions. Sometimes there are shows that are a little bit on the bubble in terms of their viewership. We went down the road with it but ultimately decided in light of the full spectrum of opportunities we were looking at we would not be able to proceed with the show.”
Amazon is also expected to cut a significant number of current development prospects off of its plate. The service already has several big-ticket series orders in the works for 2018, including the two-season order for Amy Sherman-Palladino’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” the John Krasinski-led adaptation of Tom Clancy’s “Jack Ryan” from Carlton Cuse, Matthew Weiner’s “The Romanoffs” anthology series, and David O. Russell’s untitled crime drama starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore.
Multiple industry sources who work with Amazon say it is clear there is pressure on Price and his team to deliver. There has been speculation about the prospect of major management changes at Amazon Studios given the number of industry insiders who have complained about what they see has a difficult working environment at the streaming giant.
“It’s not a good sign when Seattle overrules your decision,” said one prominent producer of Amazon’s reversal on “Z.”
The overhaul of priorities comes amid what sources said is some frustration with the fruits of its foray into original TV content during the past few years. Amazon Studios made an early splash with comedy “Transparent” in 2014, which helped propel the national conversation about transgender issues and has collected high-profile Emmy wins for star Jeffrey Tambor and creator Jill Soloway.
But Amazon hasn’t had much traction in pop culture with many other original series, even after comedy “Mozart in the Jungle” was an underdog winner for comedy series at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards. For all of Amazon’s investment in original series, it’s been eclipsed this season by its smaller rival Hulu with the critically praised “The Handmaid’s Tale.”