Paul Walker has topped the 2013 Google U.K. searches survey, just weeks after his death became headline news. The Fast & Furious star was killed when the sports car he was travelling in crashed into a tree and exploded on 30 November (13).
Fans rushed to the web to find out about the tragic story and pushed him to the top of Google's annual end-of-year Zeitgeist countdown.
The release of the latest Apple iPhone was the second most-searched topic ahead of the birth of British royal baby Prince George in July (13) in third place. The death of another celebrity - Glee star Cory Monteith, who died of an overdose in July (13) - was fourth in the countdown.
The passing of global figures made up the majority of the top 10 searches, with the deaths of Nelson Mandela earlier this month (Dec13) and former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in April (13) coming in at six and nine.
Claudine Beaumont from Google U.K. says, "Our annual Zeitgeist survey provides a fascinating snapshot of our interests and obsessions for the year.
"Celebrities always get a lot of interest and the passing of well-known figures makes people want to learn more about them."
Veteran musician Van Dyke Parks has risked causing outrage by insisting controversial world leaders Richard Nixon and Margaret Thatcher should have died sooner. The songwriter/producer, who is best known for his groundbreaking work with Beach Boys star Brian Wilson in the 1960s, has previously told how he was devastated by the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
He is adamant Kennedy was a force for good in the world and insists shamed President Nixon - who was run out of office in the wake of the Watergate scandal - and former British Prime Minister Thatcher encouraged materialist thinking.
However, Parks has risked upsetting friends, family, and supporters of the political heavyweights by revealing he wishes they had not lived so long.
He tells NME magazine, "I mark this event (the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's death) with the knowledge that we would live in a better world if the Kennedys had not been assassinated. It would be a more kindly world. It would be a less materialistic world. It would be a world not so riddled with material girls and greed. There would not be this celebration, this eroticism of wealth, had the Kennedys lived.
"So... I regret that John Kennedy was assassinated... I believe that a lot of people can die late in life and still die prematurely. A lot of people don't die soon enough - I would put in those ranks Dick Nixon (sic) and Margaret Thatcher."
U2 star Bono has penned a tribute essay for Time magazine honouring his friend Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday (05Dec13). The rocker reveals that the former South African leader was his mentor and hero - and the leading figure behind his decision to become an activist for world change as a teenager.
In the 1051-word piece, titled The Man Who Could Not Cry, which was published on Time's website hours after the news of Mandela's death was released, Bono writes, "As an activist I have pretty much been doing what Nelson Mandela tells me since I was a teenager."
The singer, who has become a leading light in the fight against AIDS and world poverty and an international rights advocate, calls Mandela a "forceful presence" in his life, adding his idol was a "hardheaded realist" and a "compromiser without being compromised".
And he recalls confronting Mandela about accepting money and friendship from his former foes, like late British leader Margaret Thatcher.
He writes, "He told me once how Margaret Thatcher had personally donated £20,000 to his foundation. 'How did you do that?' I gasped. The Iron Lady, who was famously frugal, kept a tight grip on her purse. 'I asked,' he said with a laugh. 'You'll never get what you want if you don't ask.'
"Then he lowered his voice conspiratorially and said her donation had nauseated some of his cohorts: 'Didn't she try to squash our movement?' they complained. His response: 'Didn't (former South African leader F.W.) De Klerk crush our people like flies? And I'm having tea with him next week... He'll be getting the bill.'"
Bono also recalls one touching moment with his late friend - when he joined Mandela at his former prison home on Robben Island.
He adds, "It was... in the courtyard outside the cell in which he had spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. He was explaining why he’d decided to use his inmate’s number, 46664, to rally a response to the AIDS pandemic, claiming so many African lives.
"One of his cellmates told me that the price Mandela paid for working in the limestone mine was not bitterness or even the blindness that can result from being around the bright white reflection day after day. Mandela could still see, but the dust damage to his tear ducts had left him unable to cry.
"For all this man’s farsightedness and vision, he could not produce tears in a moment of self-doubt or grief. He had surgery in 1994 to put this right. Now, he could cry. Today, we can."
Atlantic Releasing Corporation
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a movie about the future. It also happens to be a movie about a totalitarian state. So while we're counting down before the release, it might be fun to view some other films about a jackbooted future.
Although there was also a 1956 film based on George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four — the novel that defined our thinking about the meaning of totalitarianism — a second British production was released during the year in question.
It was not simply the meta-ness of the release date that added resonance to this particular screen adaptation of the book. By the late 1970s, the high unemployment rate in the U.K. had set the stage for the conservative "rebellion" of Margaret Thatcher. Nestled within this social context, director Michael Radford's rendering of Orwell's dystopia felt a little less like science fiction and more like a meditation on 20th Century realpolitik.
Which is, of course, the best thing about good science fiction: it invariably turns out to be fact.
Veteran British actor Jim Broadbent is calling on moviemakers to create more onscreen roles for women. Broadbent, who starred opposite Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher's husband Denis in The Iron Lady, insists he is happy to take supporting roles opposite a female lead, and wants to see more women in major parts.
He tells Britain's Daily Express newspaper, "It's not a question of allowing the women a chance but it's sad sometimes when women have to take the roles that are supporting the man. It would be good if it were more equal."
The ashes of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher have been buried at London's Royal Hospital Chelsea. The politician's adult children, Mark and Carol, were among those present for a special service on Saturday (28Sep13), when her remains were placed alongside those of her late husband, Denis, who passed away in 2003. She died in April (13), aged 87, after suffering a stroke.
Veep creator Armando Iannucci has blasted Brits who celebrated the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, slamming them for having "no feelings". The controversial former leader passed away at the age of 87 in April (13) after suffering a stroke, and her death prompted praise and criticism in equal measure.
Many of her opponents openly celebrated her passing by holding street parties, but Iannucci - who also penned hit political satire The Thick of It and its big-screen spin-off In The Loop - was disgusted by their behaviour.
He tells The Observer Magazine, "The time to dance on Thatcher's grave was when she resigned (in 1990). You can't shout and holler at someone for not showing any feelings towards social classes when you are demonstrating you have no feelings for an individual."
British singer Elvis Costello has defended his decision to perform a controversial song about late U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during his televised set at Glastonbury festival. The star first released his protest song, Tramp The Dirt Down, in 1989 but he has revived it since Thatcher's death in April (13) and he performed it during his recent show at Britain's iconic music festival.
The decision to resurrect the track has prompted a backlash, with critics accusing Costello of insensitivity towards Thatcher's grieving relatives as the tune includes the line, "I'll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down".
However, the singer insists he doesn't feel bad about playing the track.
He tells Britain's The Independent, "I felt I wanted to revisit the song regardless of the offence it gives to people who deify her. We sing the song from our point of view and other people have another view. Nobody shot anybody because of it. I don't feel vindicated. I didn't personally kill her."
However, Costello insists he took no pleasure in Thatcher's struggle with dementia before her death, as his own father battled the condition. He adds, "I genuinely don't wish that on my worst enemy and that's what I said every night when I introduced the song."
Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers have revealed new track 30 Year War is an anti-Margaret Thatcher protest song. The trio wrote the "angry" song before the former British Prime Minister died earlier this year (13).
Bassist Nicky Wire tells NME, "It starts with the miners' strike and moves through (soccer stadium disaster) Hillsborough, and it's a critique of the attack on the working classes over the last 30 years. It's the most spiteful, angry track on the album."
The tune will feature on the band's upcoming 11th studio album, Rewind The Film, which will be released on 16 September (13).