Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Best songs of the year

No matter which country do you come from, all of us have traditions on Christmas. One of the best traditions we have is to discover the best songs of the year that Halcombe carefully selects. Read this in Spanish/ Lee esto en español  Las mejores canciones del año  


Best songs of the year
Best songs of the year

As always, Halcombe has created a complete playlist for you to enjoy. There are plenty of songs which belong to different musical genres. 

Thanks for reading this post and taking into account my musical selection.
All the songs you are going to read have been released during the year 2017. 





Look what you made me do-TAYLOR SWIFT

...Ready for it?-TAYLOR SWIFT

Green Light-LORDE

Homemade Dynamite-LORDE


There is nothing holding me back-SHAWN MENDES


Shape of you-ED SHEERAN

Dusk till dawn-ZAYN/SIA

What lovers do-MAROON 5/SZA


Love Galore- SZA

Feel it still-PORTUGAL THE MAN

Living on the 110-PROPHETS OF RAGE

Unfuck the world-PROPHETS OF RAGE

Crying in the club-CAMILA CABELLO


Be the one-DUA LIPA

Sign of the times-HARRY STYLES


Run for cover-THE KILLERS

Come together-GARY CLARKE



Where is the revolution-DEPECHE MODE

Total Entertainment forever-FATHER JOHN MISTY




Talking to myself-LINKIN PARK

OTHER KIND OF MUSIC (alternative, hip-hop, indie...)



Walk on water-EMINEM/BEYONCE








Which is the best song of the year according to you? In my opinion, the best song of 2017 is Feel it still. Merry Christmas and happy new year. Do share and
 comment    Best songs of the year

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Emily Dickinson 1830-1886

At Mount Holyoke, a female Seminary, ten miles from the house of Emily Dickinson, the principal asked all the students to rise if they wanted to be Christians, Emily was the only one pupil to remain seated. 

After two terms, she returned to home to spend her life within the grounds of her family mansion. She never married and tried to avoid domestic duties to read and write. In 1860 she ceased to visit other homes.

Emily Dickinson

There is no absolute certainty why she gradually withdrew from society. All of a sudden, she decided to live a reclusive life, becoming one of the most intriguing cases in the history of literature. 

She led a creative life in virtual isolation. Sending letters was then her preferred way of communicating with her friends, she addressed herself to a woman named Susan, her sister in law, her true soulmate, with whom she shared her intimate thoughts, drafts and asked about feedback. 

She also had correspondence with a professional man of letters who saw her talent although did not enjoy her subjects, she wrote 71 letters to him.

Only ten poems of Emily Dickinson were published in life, yet one week after her death, her sister Lavinia discovered 900 poems hidden, all of them with no titles, no number, and no labels. 

Between 1859 and 1865, Dickinson composed more than a thousand poems. In 1863 for instance, she wrote more than 300 poems. The niece of Lavinia inherited the poems that have been published since; in 1955 a complete collection of poems appeared for the first time. 

1789 poems have been published thus far, using the first sentence of each poem as the main title, all of them are as mysterious as the life of Emily Dickinson in the sense their meaning is arduous. 

The “I” person of the poem does not refer to her in reality. The complexity of her style announced the Modernist Epoch that was about to start.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Zara Raceway Mall New Jersey

Was Raceway Mall ready to have a Zara store???? It was not at first, yet wait a little longer and keep watching the following videos...Lee esto en español Zara Raceway Mall



Yes, Raceway Mall in New Jersey, United States of America, was going to have a brand new Zara store. As the video shows it was a difficult mission to accomplish.


Time passed by nonetheless, and little by little Zara was having its glamour one more time to open a new store at Raceway Mall, New Jersey, United States.


The dateline was near. Everything was looking better and getting ready for the big day.


Discover an exclusive video of a brand new and impressive Zara store that operates in the beautiful Raceway Mall, in the garden state of New Jersey, United States, one of the best malls in America that has one of the best Zara stores in the world.


The big day came and the hard work paid off!!! Indeed, everything was ready to this incredible Zara store in Raceway Mall, New Jersey, the old videos and big troubles were forgotten and the history of this Zara store was about to start.


Meet the amazing crew of the Zara store in Raceway Mall, New Jersey, men and women who turn your fashion dreams into reality.


It was quite early in the morning when Zara opened its doors at raceway mall, New Jersey. Some minutes later nevertheless, the store was full of people thrilled with exclusive Zara clothes.


Raceway Mall, Freehold, New Jersey, is one of the best malls in the United States of America.


Raceway mall in New Jersey has a different and surprising aura during the night.


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862

Two years, two months and two days spent Thoreau isolated to meditate, read, write and make friends with animals in the countryside. Nevertheless, he had visitors and visited his family and nearby towns. He enjoys a distinguished literary position although he did never write fiction.

Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau

His mentor and friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said at his funeral “Thoreau had not achieved what he might have done if he had followed a different path”, but it is this peculiar lifestyle what has allowed him to become so relevant. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King took his beliefs as lessons by which they were inspired. 

As Henry David Thoreau did not find a job he enjoyed, his working days at the pencil factory of his dad did not make him happy and his days at Harvard University were not special for him, he decided to isolate himself in the countryside to live deliberately to front only the essential facts of life, because according to him, all the problems start when we ambition material things. 

He tried to live in harmony with nature at Walden, using as few resources as possible, avoiding materialism and not being entangled in the complexity imposed by civilized society. He saw in the wilderness the preservation of the world. 

Firstly, he accepted the invitation of Ralph Waldo Emerson to work in his home as gardener and handyman for three years, having only the accommodation as salary. After that, Emerson allowed Thoreau to build a cabin in the fields of his house, on the shores of Walden Pond; this is where he spent a sojourn of twos, two years, two months and two days in isolation. 

One day, when he marched into town to have a shoe repaired, hence breaking his isolation a little bit, he was imprisoned as he had refused to pay a poll tax in support of Native peoples and against the war on Mexico. His family paid to make him free and he published a manifesto, “Civil Disobedience” that it is very renowned in which he declared “That government is best which governs not at all.” 

Feeling a special relationship with nature and having a special sympathy for Native peoples he produced his most famous work, Walden, full of moral philosophy, political theory alongside the personal experience of the author. A social criticism document, it was ignored in his lifetime only to be now one of the most memorable pieces of writing ever. Henry David Thoreau died of tuberculosis at the age of 44.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1949

EDGAR ALLAN POE (1809-1849)

Whereas Charles Baudelaire felt “a strange commotion” because of his talent, Dostoevsky amazingly saw “a strange, though enormously talented writer” or Jules Verne was inspired by him to write science fiction, his first editor in America depicted him “as a drug addict and alcoholic that wrote under the influence weird stories”. 

As a result, his reputation in America was anything but horrendous; nobody respected his literature at that time. In fact, there were so many abhorrent rumours about his lifestyle that multiple enemies used them to destroy his career.

Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe

He did want to cultivate beauty, not teach morality and even though his plays cannot be understood without his life the fame attained to him in America was not fair. Could a drug addict and alcoholic write so often and so brilliantly?? His behavior never helped either. 

He was called “Tomahawk man” because of his harsh literary reviews that made him to have numerous enemies. His reviews were famous and increased sales, but gave him a difficult position.

The truth is that he had not an easy life. His dad was a bohemian person who left the family when the mum of Edgar Allan Poe died. Hence, Edgar was brought up though never legally adopted by John Allan, a wealthy tobacco merchant and his childless wife, the writer was renamed, Allan. When his father refused to keep on funding his studies, Edgar Allan Poe flew to Boston, published a book of poetry and he enlisted in US Army military academy at West Point.

However, he was expelled as he broke the rules. Consequently, he flew to Baltimore with his biographical family and started his literary career writing short stories, poems and publishing literary reviews without obtaining a big success. On the contrary, his life was marred with financial hardship. 

He lived in New York City with his wife Virginia, a cousin he had secretly married when she was not even 14 years of age and married again publicly later on. He suffered from severe depression; her wife had a serious hemorrhage and suffered tuberculosis that killed her 5 years later. Edgar Allan Poe suffered constant fear of losing her, he was driven to alcohol and drugs so that find solace.

He wrote a lot while nursing his wife. A famous short story The Masque of the Red Death is the product of the period of the severe and bloody sickness of her wife. American literature would not be the same without him, yet he was on the verge of giving up literature for good on several occasions. His famous poem, The Raven was published with the name Quarles until he saw the poem became popular and he put his real name on it. 

He ordered his tales in two separate categories; arabesques and grotesques and embraced Gothic themes while conceiving them. Edgar Allan Poe had a constant nervous depression for the rest of his life until he died of congestion of the brain in very mysterious circumstances.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Gianni Versace death

Versace is one of the most important fashion brands in the world. Similarly, the death of its founder, Gianni Versace, is still an unsolved crime. This is one of the most fascinating and intriguing cases ever because the crime does not have a solution as yet. This article will help you to understand what happened. Read this in Spanish. Gianni Versace

Gianni Versace death
Gianni Versace

Gianni Versace died just 20 years ago this summer. Gianni Versace was killed at the door of his house in Miami and he was 50 years of age. Versace had come back from having breakfast when a man of 27 years of age shot him. Versace died instantly. The murderer committed suicide 8 days later as the police had surrounded him. American police still have to explain this murder.

The sister of Gianni, Donatella Versace, became the business owner and still rules the brand. Her daughter, Allegra, is the legal person who will inherit the millionaire empire of Versace. Everything else is still a mystery. These are the theories.

At first, the police thought this was a simple theft case because Versace had more than 1200 dollars in cash. However, once the name of Andrew Cunanan, the murderer, appeared, everything changed.

Andrew Cunanan was a serial killer. Firstly, he had killed a former Navy official and former sexual client. Four days later, Cunanan went to Chicago and killed a real estate promoter. Subsequently, Cunanan killed another person before stealing a van to drive to Miami ending his killings with Gianni Versace. As a result, FBI believed this serial killer wanted a famous name to include on his perverse list.

As a killed dove was found near the corpse of Gianni Versace, this made the police believed a mafia connection. As a matter of fact, one book published in the year 2010 told the story of a former mafia boss from Calabria.

Gianni Versace was from this Italian region and a person from the Calabrese mafia assured in this book that Versace owed money to the godfather of Calabria mafia, hence his assassination. However, the family of Gianni Versace swears Gianni never owed money to anyone. They also announced they were going to sue the people who published this story.

Andrew Cunanan, the murderer, was a former gay sex worker. He got on well with older and rich men from whom he obtained a lot of money. After leaving such life he got AIDS and got fat. As a result, perhaps he wanted to take revenge from all men who could have infected him. However, no one is sure if there was a sexual relationship between Cunanan and Versace or not.

Officials know for sure Cunanan and Versace met each other before the killing. They met in a gay club in San Francisco. Besides, in an opera play in the same city on another occasion. Some even say Cunanan went to Italy and met Versace there. 

American police know for sure that Versace and his boyfriend had hired gay sex workers in the past. Nevertheless, the boyfriend of Versace does not remember having hired Cunanan. Still, a friend of Cunanan said that the murderer was obsessed with the people all around Versace and his brand because he was jealous of him.

Lastly, a Brazilian girl told the police she saw Cunanan and Versace dancing at a party in Miami two days before the death of Gianni.

Which theory do you believe the most? Officials are still working on this case. Do share and comment.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Phillis Wheatley 1753-1784

Phillis Wheatley was born in the area that is present-day Senegal or Gambia. Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped by slave traders along with other girls when she was eight years old and purchased at an auction in the summer of 1761 by the wealthy Christian merchant John Wheatley to work as a personal servant. 

However, she was assigned only very light work because of her frail health, thereby, the slave was raised as a member of the family, thus he received a better education than many white girls of her epoch, she mastered all reading as well as writing skills.

Phillis Wheatley
Phillis Wheatley

So talented Phillis Wheatley was that her adopted family made her read the poems she started to write in social gatherings. She had a witty conversation and people were amazed at her because she was a black girl, who had been sold as a slave, and it was believed black people were not capable of having such skills. 

She published her first poem at the age of 14. John Wheatley tried to help her publish a poetry book in Boston, but he could not find enough subscribers and had trouble convincing American publishers that a black girl was capable of writing such fine poetry. 

As a matter of fact, the govern of Massachusetts, eminent ministers, politicians, and merchants signed an attestation in which they certified the black girl was skilled enough to write the poems.

Her family took Phillis Wheatley to London in order to publish, promote and seek support for her book of poetry. The book “Poems on various subjects, religious and moral” (1773) made her the first black person in publishing a poetry book. 

Her poetical genius was forgotten, inasmuch as nor the quality or the contents of her poems drew a great deal of interest, but what was important for the audience was to discover a black female slave was able to write poetry.

She compared herself to Terence, the Roman Empire writer who was brought to Rome as a slave and later became a renowned author.

However, once she came back from England with her book just published and she obtained freedom, her life changed for worse, she married a free black man who was always in debt. 

She had 3 children who all died in infancy. Finally, Phillis Wheatley passed away in total poverty at the age of 31 after being unable to obtain enough support to publish new books.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Olaudah Equiano 1745-1797

Nobody epitomizes the slave narrative genre and the lives of the first African American as Olaudah Equiano does. After being kidnapped in current Nigeria at the age of eleven with his sister, he was held captive in Africa for about seven months, travelling farther and farther, serving different masters along the way.

Olaudah Equiano
Olaudah Equiano

Sold to British traders who shipped him in 1756, first to Barbados in the West Indies, he ended up in Virginia where he was sold to a British naval officer, Michael Henry Pascal, for service aboard his ship. He spent most of his time at sea. Unlike other slaves, he had more opportunities than if he had been on a plantation. 

He was baptized in England and served his master for ten years involved in the naval warfare, but this master did not allow Equiano to purchase his freedom as he had promised the slave when the Seven years’ War ended, he was sent to the cruel Indian Slave trade instead, where he had a new master, Robert King, who subsequently allowed him to purchase his freedom for 40 pounds.

Once free, Equiano, named Gustavus Vassa in America after a Swedish warrior, left America. He lived in London where blacks were treated better than in America; he worked as a barber or musician. 

Soon thereafter, he was a personal servant to an English gentleman traveling to Italy or Turkey and sailed on exploratory expeditions to the Arctic and countries such as Nicaragua or Honduras, but he resigned in 1777 and became an overseer of African slaves, yet he became so disgusted by the immorality he discovered, he returned to London and gave lectures against the slave trade.

He married a white Englishwoman and had two children although one of them died in infancy. He contributed to the abolitionist cause by writing letters to newspapers and officials.

He told real stories such as the one of the Ship Zong, whose captain had ordered 132 sick slaves to be chained together and thrown overboard so that the owners could claim insurance money for their loss because insurance only would pay for drowned slaves. From 1789 to 1792 House of Commons heard evidence for and against slave trade; he sent narratives to the members of Parliament of Great Britain. 

His book, The interesting narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, written by himself became a success being translated into German or Dutch, people loved to read the true life of a slave and the stories Olaudah Equiano saw and lived, first as a slave and after as a free man. 

His book was used against slavery. Ten years after his death, the British Empire started to end slavery throughout its colonies.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790

The now coveted and highly mentioned American dream started with Benjamin Franklin, the first self-man made and the first American man of letters, a great representation of the American Enlightenment. 

A Bostonian, his father had emigrated from England and was a strict Puritan. At the age of 24, he became famous in Philadelphia. 

He was a self-taught man who never went to University. He learned languages and started a new American genre, the self-help book with Poor Richard´s Almanack which talks about being successful and achieving wealth, with memorable sayings, aphorisms that were included in another book “The way to wealth”.

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

He invented the lightning rod, the Franklin stove or the glass harmonica. He was also a diplomat, especially admired in France. He wrote an Autobiography, to provide a model for public conduct; he translated his personal experiences into general propositions. 

Consequently, these accounts could be usefully applied to other people. Benjamin Franklin was involved with the Declaration of Independence which he drafted as he was one of the spiritual leaders of the American Revolution.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

William Bradford (1590-1657)

The first real Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1623 after a providential rain shower saved the plantation’s crops. Apart from the end of the drought, the 1623 Thanksgiving also celebrated the news that a ship carrying new colonists was safe. 

Sometimes there is confusion with a 1621 harvest celebration on the fourth Thursday in November that lasted days and Indian guests, who brought deer for dinner, were also invited. 

This and other interesting issues can be learnt reading William Bradford thanks to his letters, journals and the play “Of Plymouth Plantation” that covers a trip from England to Holland, from whence they traveled to America and their lives therein from 1620 to 1646. However, these books were not published until the year 1857.


William Bradford
William Bradford

William Bradford was born in Yorkshire, England. At a very age he abandoned his family to join a community of believers who had separated from the Church of England, strict Calvinists. 

They wanted the separation of Church and state; this was seen as treason to the king. As a consequence, they left England and moved to Holland and then, they moved to New England, America. They wanted to establish the city of God on earth; looking for a promised land they were called the Pilgrim Fathers and also Puritans. 

They parted alongside other people on merchant vessel called Mayflower from Southampton. After arriving at the new world, William Bradford was elected governor of Plymouth Colony, being re-elected thirty times. Thanks to his pieces of writing, we have a real account of historical events as well as the very bleak impression they had when they saw America for the first time.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

John Smith 1580-1631

The first texts in America were written in Spanish and the first compositions are oral ones in old Native American languages.

The first English work written in America “A true relation of such occurrences and accidents of Note as hath happened in Virginia” has John Smith as its author.

John Smith
John Smith

The problem with John Smith is that many critics doubt over the verisimilitude of the accounts that this author depicted in his books. Without going any further, the national myth of Powhatan was created relying basically on an account Smith published seventeen years after the actual events, where he often mixed fact and fiction.

The truth has John Smith published some books in which he never mentioned Powhatan. However, once Powhatan died and she became famous, John Smith included her in a story he had never told previously, the famous one in which they fell in love and she saved him from passing away. What is more, the story with Powhatan is almost equal to a real one that was published in Spain by a Spanish adventurer who met an Indian princess in South America.

John Smith was an adventurer who left England to fight in Hungary. Subsequently, was wounded in battle while in Transylvania. After being made prisoner and sold as a slave, Captain Smith escaped by killing the brother of a girl who had fallen in love with him.

Back in England, he was enrolled in an expedition with a company named Virginia Company that was formed by King James I to be in charge with the settlement of Virginia in 1606. They wanted to accumulate wealth as quickly as possible.

During the trip, he was on the verge of being killed in West Indies. Nonetheless, once in America, he was elected as the main leader of the expedition.

He met indigenous; he fought and also was imprisoned by them for seven weeks. After being released and suffering burnings from a gunpowder explosion, he came back to England to have his injuries healed. 

He wanted to visit America again, yet because of his ambitions the company prevented him from doing so, therefore, he started to write about what he lived in the current United States, encouraging Britain to further colonize the new territory.