August 8, 2001: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman Divorce
Hollywood’s golden couple, as I am loathed to call them, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman separated on this day, with the reasoning behind their divorce being said to be “irreconcilable differences”. Whether or not these “differences” concerned Tom’s submission to an alien overlord or his latent homosexuality is really for you to decide.
August 9, 1945: Atom Bomb is dropped on Nagasaki
Far from awesome in the good sense of the word, America’s second atomic bombing of Japan in three days is one of the most harrowing moments of World War II, wiping out the entire city of Nagasaki. Although the attack on Hiroshima is the most remembered, the destruction of Nagasaki is what forced Japan to surrender to the American forces, after approximately 70,000 lives were taken, including those of innocents. A further 10,000-20,000 later died from radiation poisoning.
America’s brutal annihilation of both cities was considered payback for Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor, a US Navy deep-water naval base, which saw the deaths of 2,350 men and women, including 68 civilians.
August 10, 1985: Duran Duran singer rescued at sea
Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon was quite the sailing enthusiast in his 80s heyday. Look, here’s a video of him frolicking on a yacht. Unfortunately his hobby nearly got the better of him when competing in the Fastnet race, after his boat, named “Drum”, capsized off the shores of Cornwall. The singer and his sailing crew were trapped for 40 minutes inside the flooded hull of the boat until a rescue crew saved them, just before they were doomed to a watery grave.
The incident was later replayed in the 1989 film “Drum – The Journey of a Lifetime”. Le Bon would later re-enter the Fastnet race, this time finishing it.
August 11, 1966: John Lennon apologizes for saying that the Beatles were “bigger than Jesus”
In 1966 then-Beatle John Lennon did the unthinkable when, in an interview with the London Evening Standard, he claimed that his band had become “bigger than Jesus”. England was suitably nonchalant about the whole debacle, but when word reached the States a reprint in teen-zine Datebook, everyone and his/her (mainly her) Mother went into a frenzy.
Sucking up his pride Lennon later tried to explain his musing, saying “I'm not anti-God anti-Christ, or anti-religion. I wouldn't knock it. I didn't mean we were greater or better." Beatles records were burnt, radio stations refused to play the band’s music and their following concert would prove to be one of their last, with The Fab Four then becoming beardy, bugged-out introverts and going out to produce arguably their greatest material.
August 13, 1991: The SNES and Super Mario World are released
Widely regarded as the greatest videogame console of all time, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System solidified Nintendo’s reputation as the undisputed king of the home console market with its latest offerings sleek visuals and wide array of first and third party titles. As if simply launching the damn thing wasn’t enough, Nintendo also included what is considered to be the definitive 2D Mario title with its release bundle, Super Mario World. The SNES went on to achieve tremendous sales and maintained steady popularity well into the 32-bit era, laying to rest its popular fellow 16-bit rival in the process. Speaking of which…
August 14, 1989: The Sega Genesis is released
The Sega Genesis was released almost exactly 2 years before the SNES, and was received with open arms by a gaming community that were inveigled by its shiny new graphics and “cool” games. In a world where the NES was championing portly plumbers and Elven dudes wearing leotards, a console that burst its way onto the scene with a ballsy slogan such as “GENESIS DOES WHAT NINTENDON’T” struck a chord with gamers who were looking for something a little more… rad… Check it out!
Although no one is entirely sure what the hell Blast Processing is, we all sure fell for it back in the day, and were convinced that we needed to own a Genesis in order to be valued by all the other kids at school. Now that’s good marketing.