Women try to smuggle dead relative onto flight

We talk a lot here at Gadling about annoying airline passengers, from the guy who smashes our knees by reclining his seat back as far as it can go, to the self-righteous fellow who simply must convert us before the plane lands.

Two women in England have them all beat–they tried to smuggle a dead body on board. The unnamed women were stopped at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport on Saturday as they wheeled their “sleeping” relative up to the gate for a flight to Germany. Airport officials became suspicious and when they began to ask questions about the 91 year-old man, the duo’s story quickly unraveled.

By covering the man with a blanket and putting sunglasses on him, they apparently thought they could slip by security. Perhaps they were inspired by the Australian who got a bag labeled “bomb” past security or the United flight that had a stowaway scorpion.

The two suspects, who the police have identified only as women aged 41 and 66 from Oldham in Greater Manchester, have been charged with failing to report on death and have been released on bail pending an investigation and, most likely, a trial.

Explore London with Sherlock Holmes

In anticipation of the Christmas Day release of the new Sherlock Holmes movie (starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law), Visit Britain has developed a microsite to help guide fans to the London locations used in the film. The site also offers possible itineraries for a Holmes-themed tour of London.

The list of London stops on the Holmes tour includes St. Paul’s Cathedral, Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, Freemason’s Hall, Brompton Cemetery, and the Sherlock Holmes Museum. The site also suggests a drink at the Sherlock Holmes Pub (decorated with Holmes memorabilia) or walking tour, “In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes”, offered by London Walks.

For those venturing out of London, there are additional filming locations in Manchester. Cheshire, Kent, Leeds and Suffolk in England, plus spots in Scotland and Wales.

Hollinwood? Not so famous, but they do have a similar sign

Nobody is likely to confuse Hollywood, California, the capital of the movie industry, with Hollinwood, UK, an industrial town near Manchester, but apparently someone is trying to cause some confusion.

The BBC has reported that a three-foot-high reproduction of the famous Hollywood sign, but spelled “Hollinwood”, has appeared next to the M60 motorway. Hollinwood (pictured here) is less than five miles away from Manchester, which recently signed a “friendship agreement” with Los Angeles to increase business between the two cities.

Local officials are panicky that LA will be upset and they quickly denied putting up the sign. They say they have no idea where it came from. Relax folks! I doubt the multibillion dollar American movie industry really cares.

So what’s there to see in Hollinwood? Well, no famous directors, no Walk of Fame, no movie studios. In fact, Hollinwood’s last movie theater was demolished two years ago. And there are no movie stars from Hollinwood.

But Hollinwood does have one famous resident. Local bigwig Hannah Beswick had a morbid fear of being buried alive, so she left strict instructions to be kept above ground in case of apparent death. When she did shuffle off this mortal coil in 1758 she was embalmed and kept in the family mansion, where doctors checked her on a regular basis to see if she had come back to life. Of course, having been embalmed meant that even if she had been alive, she certainly wouldn’t be afterward, but the terms of the will were quite clear and the doctors carried them out to the letter. After several years of public viewing at her home, her remains were moved to a museum in Manchester and put on display. Soon the Manchester Mummy gained national fame.

Poor old Hannah never did show any signs of recovering, and 110 years after she died she was finally laid to rest in 1868.

The museum is still open, and this Museum Junkie recommends it highly. Not only do you get the usual dinosaurs, stuffed animals, and butterflies, but you also get a cool collection of armor. There are even some mummies, but of the ancient Egyptian kind. Sadly, that room is temporarily closed, but it will reopen in time for next summer.

Gadling’s guide to Summer music

Summer. Music. Could any two words in the English language possibly go so well together? There’s just something about warm weather that makes you want to be outside, bare feet touching soft grass and dirt underfoot, hands in the cool night air, eardrums fluttering to the vibrations of a strumming guitar.

And aside from Summer, what could go better with music than travel? Whatever your favorite genre, this season is prime time to catch some of the best live performances you’ll see all year. So what if nothing good is playing near your hometown? Jump in the car or book that cheap plane ticket. Music is just the excuse you’re looking for to get out on the road. From the smallest local city festivals, to the giant multi-headliner events now dotting the country (and the world), it’s time to start making some travel arrangements to catch your favorite band.

We won’t pretend to list out every music festival and event going on this summer – there’s way too many. But we’ve been to our fair share of good ones – and we know what’s worth the trip. Grab those earplugs and stop making those Free Bird requests, Gadling is bringing you our picks of this Summer’s best music events, both in your backyard and around the world.
International Festivals
There are some music events so incredibly epic, bringing together so many great bands, and unique performers in such unique settings, that they’re worth a trip halfway across the globe. That’s not to mention peculiar quirks of the local crowd. What better way to meet the locals than your shared love for Metallica? The international festivals below are definitely worth your money’s worth:

  • Sonar Festival – Barcelona, Spain (June 19-21) – the cutting edge Sonar Festival, hosted in one of Europe’s most dynamic cities, brings together multimedia art and music for three days of decidedly high-tech fun and dancing. This year’s festival features big names like M.I.A. and Justice. Did we mention the city is on a beach for when you get tired of the party?
  • Glastonbury – Glastonbury, England (June 27-29)Glastonbury has long been known as one the one the premier festivals in England, if not the world, offering a huge lineup of some of pop music’s up-and-comers as well as established superstars. This year promises a similar showing, featuring hip-hop star Jay-Z, singer songwriter Leonard Cohen and bands like indie-rockers The National marquee acts such as Franz Ferdinand, Q Tip and Bruce Springsteen
  • Gnaoua Festival – Essaouira, Morocco (June 26-29) – if your musical tastes run towards the more esoteric and global, consider a trip to Morocco’s Gnaoua Festival, held each year in the lazy seaside village of Essaouira. Gnawa is type of music indigenous to Northern Africa, characterized by its soulful chanting and acrobatic dancing. As if a visit to the whitewashed town of Essaouira wasn’t reward enough, you’ll bear witness to some of the most amazing musicians from across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Roskilde Festival – Roskilde, Denmark (July 3-6) – Denmark is not exactly a hot spot when you think of great musical events, but the annual Roskilde Festival is proof the Danes really know what they’re talking about. This year brings yet another killer lineup including uber-rockers Radiohead and Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West, Lucinda Williams, and many others.

U.S. Festivals
Alright, so the Spanish music festival is out of your budget this year. That’s not a problem really – live music is practically a birthright of American citizens, guaranteeing that each summer you’ll find a heap of great musicians touring at a concert hall or ampitheater near you. To help you figure out what to check out, we’ve broken down some of our favorites based on geography: East Coast, West and Central. Take a look:

  • EAST COAST – All Points West, New York, NY (July 31- August 2) – brought to you by the same team that pulls together the annual Coachella Festival in Indio, CA, New York City’s All Points West Festival is now entering its second year. Much as you’d expect from a sister festival to the excellent Coachella, All Points West brings in top-notch talent like the Beastie Boys and MGMT to a gorgeous waterfront park facing the Statue of Liberty.
  • CENTRAL – Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Manchester, TN (June 12-15) – many people wondered what was going on when a new festival was first announced in 2002 on a 700 acre farm in Tennessee. But the detractors have long since been silenced by Bonnaroo, now one of the country’s most famous music festivals. 2009 brings yet another eclectic and stellar lineup headlined by Bruce Springsteen, Snoop Dogg, Phish and Wilco.
  • CENTRAL – Lollapalooza, Chicago, IL (August 7-9) – consider Lollapalooza as the grandfather of national music festivals. It’s been around longer than just about every other major Summer festival around, originally created by Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell way back in 1991. The fact Lollapalooza no longer tours the country each Summer also works to your advantage – the festival now permanently resides in wonderful Summer climes of Chicago. Headliners this year include Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon and The Killers.
  • WEST – Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Telluride, CO (June 18-21) – you know you have a good thing going when your festival has been ongoing for 36 years. That’s exactly the advantage of the long-running Telluride Bluegrass Festival, a celebration of a distinctly American musical style nestled in the scenic heights of the Rocky Mountains. This year’s lineup includes a diverse roster of performers including David Byrne, Elvis Costello as well as old favorites like Jerry Douglas.

Ready for an encore? We only had space to list a few of our favorite summer musical events here. What did we miss? Have a favorite festival you think we should know about? Leave us your thoughts in the comments and there very well may be a Summer music roundup “Part II” in the near future.

Museum Junkie: Manchester exhibit on life as a POW

A fascinating exhibit on life as a POW has opened at The Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, England.

The exhibition, called “Captured: The Extraordinary Life of Prisoners of War”, combines pictures, artifacts, and real-life anecdotes to give a glimpse into the experiences of prisoners of war from all armies during the Second World War (1939-45). It also features the only known film of German POWs in Britain.

While the exhibition focuses on the daily endurance test POWs had to live through, it also examines some of the famous escapes from notorious German prisons such as Colditz. This castle near Dresden housed Allied POWs who had tried to escape from other prisons. The Nazis considered it impossible to escape from. Several POWs saw it as a challenge and proved the Nazis wrong.

This museum junkie has been to many of The Imperial War Museum’s special exhibitions and has always been impressed. They’re always easy to follow and full of surprises and leave you knowing a lot more than when you arrived. At the permanent exhibition in the museum’s London branch, there’s a recording of an interview with a British soldier who survived a Japanese POW camp. He got terrible sores on his legs and didn’t have any medicine to treat them. Knowing that tea is a disinfectant, he pressed tea bags against the sores. This bit of trivia saved his legs and probably his life.

This latest exhibition is one of a series of events marking the 70th anniversary of the start of World War Two. A list of upcoming events at the museum’s five branches is online here,

“Captured: The Extraordinary Life of Prisoners of War” runs until January 3rd, 2010.