Page 27. " Sweet Home Chicago "

A popular Blues standard in 12-bar form, written and performed by Robert Johnson.

The song has been covered many times, most notably by the Blues Brothers. 

Listen on Spotify:    Robert Johnson    Eric Clapton    Blues Brothers


Page 29. " Hans Blix - a case for war? "
Hans Blix 2002
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumHans Blix 2002 - Credit: Dean Calma/IAEA

 Hans Blix is a Swedish diplomat who was plucked out of retirement by Kofi Annan, then UN Secretary General, to lead the UN investigation into claims that Iraq had a stockpile of WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction). This investigation was critical to the justification for the invasion of Iraq. Blix was adamant that the claim that there were WMDs in Iraq was false. 


Page 31. " The September attacks "
Sept 11th
Creative Commons AttributionSept 11th - Credit: Wally Gobetz

The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11th, 2001.

Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners and flew two of them into the Twin Towers in New York and one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. The attacks had a profound effect on the whole world - leading to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and permanently altering relations between the USA and muslim nations.

     September 11th Digital Archive

Page 31. " Suez Crisis "

Suez Canal
GNU Free Documentation LicenseSuez Canal - Credit: Clipper, Wikimedia
In 1956, Egypt nationalised the Suez Canal, formally a neutral zone under British protection (and control).  Because of the vital importance of the canal to Britain and France in maintaining their eastern influence and power, the two European nations together with Israel launched an attack on Egypt.

The military operation to re-take the Canal zone was successful, but it led to widespread international condemnation, most importantly from the USA, forcing France and Britain to withdraw.

The loss of Suez, for many people, marked the de facto end of the British Empire.

Page 31. " the Cuban missiles "

A reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, a Cold War confrontation between America, Cuba and the USSR.

Cuban Missile Crisis Timeline


Page 31. " remembers being tearful over Aberfan in 'sixty-six "

Aberfan is a small village in Wales where, after several days of heavy rain in 1966, a landslide took the lives of 144 people, including 116 children. 

The Aberfan Disaster

The Times Online Archive: Aberfan Disaster

Page 32. " Biafra "
Nigeria and Biafra
GNU Free Documentation LicenseNigeria and Biafra - Credit: Eric Gaba

In 1967, the oil-rich south-east region of Nigeria attempted to secede as the new Republic of Biafra.  This led to two and a half years of civil war and an eventual federal victory.  Up to three million people are thought to have died in the war and the resulting famine.

Biafra War


Page 32. " He bought Fred Halliday's book "

Two Hours The Shook the World: September 11, 2001.

Fred Halliday (1946-2010) was an Irish expert on the Middle East.


Page 33. " Ry Cooder "

Ry Cooder is a folk and blues musician, considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time, particularly known for his slide guitar technique.

Listen on Spotify:    Crossroads     Little Sister    Paris, Texas


Nonesuch Website: Ryland Cooder

Page 35. " Jimmy Reed numbers "

Jimmy Reed (1925-1976) was an American Blues musician and song-writer, very popular in the 1950s and 1960s for his punchy electric blues and harmonica sound.

Listen on Spotify:   I Ain't Got You     Bright Lights, Big City     Shame, Shame, Shame

It is generally assumed that Jay McInerney's novel Bright Lights, Big City is based on Reed's song.

Cascade Blues Association: Jimmy Reed

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Jimmy Reed


Page 42. " a tumour on your pituitary gland "

animation by Anatomography

The pituitary gland secretes hormones that regulate homeostasis (maintaining the body in a state of equilibrium).  Pituitary tumours commonly secrete excessive growth hormone or prolactin, which stimulates lactation.  They are mostly benign, but their position close to the centre of the brain can make them dangerous.

Brain Pituitary Tumours

National Cancer Institute: Pituitary Tumours

Page 48. " rising and falling in Doppler shifts "

The Doppler effect occurs when the frequency of a wave - commonly a sound wave - changes as a result of the relative motion of the source or observer.  The most widely known example is the changing sound of a siren as it approaches and then passes an observer.