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Malcolm John Rebennack



Dr. John, Hall of Fame Singer Who Brought New Orleans to the World, Dead at 77
“He created a unique blend of music which carried his hometown, New Orleans, at its heart, as it was always in his heart,” family says of Grammy-winning musician born Malcolm John Rebennack

 

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Bushwick Bill, a member of the Houston rap trio Geto Boys, has died at the age of 52. The rapper born Richard Shaw recently revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

“Bushwick Bill passed away peacefully this evening at 9:35 p.m. He was surrounded by his immediate family,” the rapper’s publicist Dawn P. tells Rolling Stone. “There were incorrect previous reports that he had passed away this morning. We are looking into doing a public memorial at a later date. His family appreciates all of the prayers and support and are asking for privacy at this time.”
 

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/features/norman-dewis-personal-tribute/

From 1952 to 1985 Norman Dewis had a hand in signing off every new Jaguar, famously drove an E-type overnight from Coventry to Geneva for its world debut and helped develop the disc brake which has saved countless lives

Norman Dewis OBE, Jaguar test driver, who in a 33-year career at the Coventry car maker played a key role in the development of the disc brake, has died aged 98.

This remarkable man, who was one of the few surviving Second World War Blenheim air gunners and also, with Stirling Moss, formed part of the last surviving all-British Mille Miglia crew, attained the all-too-rare distinction of recognition for his automotive development achievements.

While at Jaguar he tested and developed over 25 cars including: the Le Mans-winning C-type; the three times Le Mans-winning D-type; the XK140/150; the 2.4/3.4 and Mark 2 saloons; the Mark VII and VIIM; the E-type; the XJ13 racer; XJ and XJ-S and the XJ40 models.

As well as his friendly, self-effacing nature, perhaps Norman should be most celebrated for his part in the development of the disc brake, a development which will have saved hundreds of thousands of lives over the years. It was a risky and time-pressed undertaking. Dewis didn't think much of the C-type when he first tested it, but it became nevertheless the disc-brake development car.

“They’d been fitted to a XK120,” said Dewis in an interview in The Daily Telegraph in 2014, "and were terrible things, burning out, boiling the fluid. I was asked to help out and said we needed to fit them to the fastest car we made, the C-type.”

This was January 1952 and prototype C-Type 001 was converted and the small team of Dunlop and Jaguar engineers was set up, testing in secret at a former RAF aerodrome at Perton near Wolverhampton.

“Oh yes, it was dangerous,” recalled Dewis quietly. “Sometimes I’d be driving at 130mph and there’d be no brakes, the pedal would sink to the floor and I have to take to the grass.”

Brake pad knock-back, boiling fluid and faulty master cylinders had to be solved, but development was very fast – it had to be. Just two and half months into testing Dewis came wearily back into his office late at night to find Jaguar boss William Lyons there.

“He said: ‘This brake job, how long are you going to be with it?’,” said Dewis. “I told him where we were and he said: ‘I don’t think that’s good enough, tell Dunlop they’ve got three weeks’.”

Dewis called Dunlop engineer Harold Hodkinson and the team redoubled their efforts, entering a C-Type into a race at Goodwood on April 17, where it was driven by Stirling Moss into fourth place. Moss also drove C-Type 003 in the Mille Miglia the following month, with Dewis as passenger/navigator. Just 100 miles from the finish, lying in second position, Moss slid off, breaking the steering and retiring the car. “Shame we didn’t get a win there,” said Dewis, who was no mean race driver himself.

Despite fierce lobbying by friends, the press and Jaguar top brass, the honours committee held off awarding Dewis an OBE until 2014 - he was charmingly modest about the award, but very proud.

Dapper, short in stature and full of terrific anecdotes, Dewis enjoyed a long and lively retirement. I can remember being comprehensively drunk under the table by him at the Goodwood Festival of Speed when he was 94 years old. In the morning I groggily recall my wife reporting that long after I'd retired he'd continued to chat to her for an hour or two and then got up early to supervise the starting of the D-type due to run up the hillclimb...

In the last few years he slowed a bit. It is estimated that Dewis had put in over a million test miles at speed in excess of 100mph and he and Jaguar had long harboured an ambition to have Dewis drive the prototype D-type at 100mph when he was 100 years old. But when met by The Telegraph's motoring editor last year, Dewis admitted that he hadn't been feeling too well, saying: “So perhaps we should make it 97mph at 97 years.”

Born in Coventry, Dewis came from a heroic generation. A talented artist, he had hoped to go to art college, but when his father died in 1934 aged 41, Dewis became the household's main breadwinner working first at the Co-Op, then Humber and after that Armstrong Siddeley, where he found his forte in chassis development.

He did wartime service as an air gunner on Blenheims, a twin-engined bomber with a parlous survival record: “If they did two months they were lucky,” Dewis told his biographer, Paul Skilleter. He developed a severe kidney infection and back problems as a consequence of spending hours in the draughty unheated turret and saw out the rest of the war in the experimental department of Armstrong Siddeley, which was engaged in war work.

Dewis once explained the fatalistic wartime attitude with a story about riding a borrowed motorcycle up to Coventry after a massive wartime bombing raid. "I dropped my mate off and went to find my mother," he recalled. "The place was flattened; there was nothing standing, our road had completely gone."OAn air raid warden told Dewis that the survivors had been sent to a church some distance away, so he rode over. "As soon as I walked in, I saw mother and it was a huge relief," he said. "But when she saw me she shouted out, 'Our Norman, what are you doing here? Get back to work!'"

After the war Dewis worked at Lea Francis, where in his spare time he built his own motorcycle and raced cars in Formula 500, where he first met Stirling Moss, a life-long friend. Then, in 1951, a phone call from Bill Heynes at Jaguar, offered him a job he didn’t really want.

“I thought if I asked for lots of money they’d never give it to me,” he says. “So I said I wanted £4 a week on top of what I was earning. They said yes.”

His career at Jaguar was legendary, each car he drove was carefully documented each evening in Norman's concise hand in a series of exercise books, which it is to be hoped will be acquired for the nation by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust.

Painstaking and something of a perfectionist, Dewis knew he had two nicknames at Jaguar. “I did meet a colleague after I’d retired," he once recalled. "He said I’d had a nickname ‘High-Speed Norman’, then let slip there’d been another, ‘LBH’ – it stood for Little Bloody Hitler.”

He achieved results though, and also respect. Legendary Jaguar race team manager Lofty England once invited works driver Mike Hawthorn to an early test of the D-Type. “He arrived," recalled Dewis. "He saw I was there and said to Lofty; ‘Why am I here? If Norman’s satisfied with it, I’m satisfied.’

“I was always happy that I had the right touch and it [the D-type] did feel special, a compact beautiful car. Once we’d got it right (and I’d done 24 hours at racing speeds), I said to Bill Heynes; we should be able to win at Le Mans, but I can’t test your drivers.”

His legacy of meticulous testing lives on at some car makers though mostly at Jaguar where Mike Cross, the company’s current chief engineer and development supremo, never fails to acknowledge the debt he owes to Dewis.

Let’s hope the afterlife has some challenging roads and can make a decent brew, for High Speed Norman is on his way. We’re certainly going to miss him down here.
 

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Christopher Booker, first editor of Private Eye magazine (which I occasionally steal cartons from to amuse - or annoy - you all).

From left to right: Richard Ingrams (still alive), Willie Rushton (died 1996), Christopher Booker, Nicholas Luard (died 2004)
 

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Rest in peace, Messrs. Iacocca and Perot.
 

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Paul Krassner

Paul Krassner, Anarchist, Prankster and a Yippies Founder, Dies at 87


Paul Krassner, right, in 1969 with, from left, Ed Sanders of the rock group the Fugs and Abbie Hoffman. Mr. Krassner helped start the Yippie movement and was the founder of The Realist magazine.


Mr. Krassner in 2009. He once said: “It’s strange to be 70 and still identify with a youth movement. But I’d rather identify with evolution than stagnation.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/21/obituaries/paul-krassner-dies-at-87.html
 
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