Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 25 September 2020

Stanley Kubrick, Fleetwood Mac and Hans Christian Andersen: 5 things that happened on April 2

From the serious to the entertaining, here is our daily list of things that happened around the world on this day

An epic film premiered, a legendary album reached number one and a master of fairy tales was born – here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history.

Stanley Kubrick released a masterpiece

Year: 1968

When 2001: A Space Odyssey premiered on April 2, 1968 in Washington DC, it divided critics. For instance, The Boston Globe’s review said it was “the world’s most extraordinary film … [It] is as exciting as the discovery of a new dimension in life". And yet in The New York Times, Renata Adler said it was “somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring”.

Despite the naysayers, Stanley Kubrick’s ambitious science-fiction film was the highest-grossing North American film for that year, it won an Academy Award and is today regarded as one of the great films of the 20th century. Its special effects, narrative techniques and storyline are remembered as pioneering. And in 1991, the US Library of Congress deemed it “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” enough to preserve in the National Film Registry.

It was Kubrick’s 11th film. The director, writer and producer made 16 in total, including The Shining and A Clockwork Orange.

Fleetwood Mac reached the number one spot

Year: 1977

The album Rumours came out in February 1977 and by April 2 it hit number one in the Billboard charts, where it stayed for a whopping 31 weeks. It was the 11th album by British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac, but it was a masterpiece, arguably their finest work – and still beloved to this day. It includes some of their biggest hits, including Dreams, the band’s only number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

The group includes Mick Fleetwood, Christine and John McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham and was formed in 1967. They took a break in 1995, but re-formed in 1996 and are still performing today.

Their discography includes 18 studio albums and 23 compilations, as well as a number of live records and 62 singles. Having sold more than 120 million records over their lengthy career, the band is one of the best-selling groups of all time.

This all might be down to the fact that they’re such perfectionists. In fact, on one of the Rumours songs, Never Going Back Again, Buckingham’s guitar was reportedly restrung every 20 minutes to retain the quality of its sound.

A market opened up for an invention that stuck

Year: 1978

Just as a vacuum cleaner is not called a “Hoover”, the scratchy fastening material we all know and use often is not actually called Velcro. That’s the name of the company founded by Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral, who invented the first touch fastener.

The story goes that, in 1941, he was walking through the woods when a thought occurred to him: he wondered if the burrs of the burdock plant that kept clinging to his trousers could be used for something more.

It took eight years of research, but de Mestral soon reproduced this using two strips of fabric, one with thousands of tiny hooks and the other with corresponding loops. It was used by Nasa, for divers and the military before it entered the mainstream fashion world.

The word Velcro is a portmanteau of the French words velour (“velvet”) and crochet (“hook”).

Dr Mestral formally patented the invention in 1955, but that patent ran out 23 years later on April 2 and the market for hook-and-loop innovation was blown wide open.

An author of fairy tales was born

Year: 1805

Classic stories such as The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid and The Princess and the Pea have been read to children for centuries. These are the works of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, who is best remembered for his fairy tales, but was also a prolific writer of plays, novels, poems and even travelogues.

His stories, while aimed at children, stick in the minds of people of all ages and nationalities. That’s because their poignant themes transcend all boundaries.

Please hold for travel story by Tabish Khair about Copenhagen. Copenhagen, Denmark -December 10, 2009- Visitors of Copenhagen are photographing each other in front of the Little Mermaid Statue. (Christoph Bangert for The National)
A statue inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's story 'The Little Mermaid' is visited by tourists in Copenhagen to this day. Christoph Bangert for The National

Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark on April 2, 1805, an only child who never married. The first of his works to gain recognition was a short story called A Journey on Foot from Holmen’s Canal to the East Point of Amager, which was published in 1829. He then went on to win a grant from the king, which allowed him to travel through the continent, while continuing to write.

Andersen died on August 4, 1875 in Copenhagen, where, to this day, people can visit his grave at Assistens Cemetery. A statue of a mermaid, inspired by the writer’s tale, was erected in the Danish capital in 1913 and remains a popular tourist attraction.

A noted activist died

Year: 2018

Her husband may have been better known, but Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was also an accomplished – and divisive –lady. The South African anti-apartheid activist and politician was the second wife of Nelson Mandela. She achieved much in her career: she served as a member of parliament and was a deputy minister of arts, culture, science and technology.

Winnie married Nelson in 1958, although he was imprisoned for much of their four-decade relationship. The jail time irrevocably damaged the Mandela marriage, and they split in 1992, eventually getting divorced in 1996 after Nelson ousted Winnie from her cabinet post the year before.

Winnie was undoubtedly a successful woman, but her triumphs were tarnished somewhat by convictions for kidnapping and fraud.

She died on April 2, 2018 in Johannesburg aged 81.

Updated: April 1, 2020 08:44 PM

Editor's Picks
Sign up to our daily email
Most Popular