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Chaos, pain and triumph: How Neil Young created his masterpiece ‘Harvest’ | Culture

The photo on the back sleeve cover of Harvest is full of symbolism. Four musicians playing in a barn. Four musicians sitting with their instruments – drums, pedal steel, piano and bass – looking fearfully and expectantly at a 25-year-old man, the only band member who is standing, side-on, facing his colleagues, in a flannel shirt with long, dark hair obscuring his face: Neil Young. He is suffering from severe back pain, accentuated by the weight of a huge, white Gretsch electric guitar. The scene was set on the $500,000 (€440,000) ranch Young had bought with the money he had made after founding the band Buffalo Springfield, taking part in the super-group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and releasing three solo releases. He is an idealist coming to terms with his failure to be a bone fide hippy, adapting to his new status as a rich musician. The song being recorded in the barn was to be included on Harvest, Young’s most famous and biggest-selling record, an album that took a year to cut due to a pause so he could undergo surgery, a wonderfully disjointed record that was recorded in four different parts of the world, a masterpiece that 50 years later still sounds vigorous and exciting.

In 1972, Neil Young was in love with the Californian actress Carrie Snodgress. He had seen her in a movie, Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970), which earned Snodgress a Best Actress Oscar nomination and two Golden Globes. Using his status as a rising rock star, Young arranged for a note to be left in Snodgress’ dressing room while she was performing in a play in Los Angeles. It simply read: “Call Neil Young,” with a number. The actress, more in tune with Hollywood than the rock scene, had no idea who Young was. But she called anyway. They formed a powerful partnership: the rocker and the Hollywood star, lanky, scruffy, hippies with a healthy bank balance.

She moved to the ranch recently acquired by Young. In September 1972, they had a son, Zeke, who suffered from cerebral palsy. Snodgress dedicated her heart and soul to him and shelved her career. Young’s love for Snodgress and Zeke inspired two songs, Heart of Gold, his only US number one, and A Man Needs a Maid. But Harvest proved to be a torturous recording, taking almost a year from January to October, 1971. The main reason was Young’s surgery, after he had injured his back moving planks of wood on the ranch. He tried to correct the problem with a corset he wore for several months, but eventually opted to go under the knife.

The back sleeve cover of ‘Harvest’ (1972).
The back sleeve cover of ‘Harvest’ (1972).Jim Geuther

Harvests sense of stylistic chaos is due to it being recorded in four different places: Nashville, London, Young’s California ranch and during a live concert in Los Angeles. Young had headed to Nashville to appear on The Johnny Cash Show. Always impulsive, he told music producer Elliot Mazer that he had some new songs and only needed a band to record them. Mazer found drummer Kenny Buttrey, bassist Tim Drummond and steel-guitarist Ben Keith, who would go on to form Young’s backing group, The Stray Gators. Pianist and composer Jack Nitzsche also came aboard and Keith would go on to play with Young for 37 years, until his death in 2010. The Nashville sessions reaped the gentle rock-country songs Out On The Weekend, Harvest and Heart of Gold.

“The bad time he was having of it because of the back pain and the mood swings, mainly because of the medication, meant that everyone kept their distance,” Mazer recalled in Shakey, Jimmy McDonough’s exhaustive biography of Young. Enigmatic and ruthless when dishing out emotions, Young sowed chaos with his tactics. “Neil showed the band the songs at the last minute. There was no time to rehearse. The band didn’t know the songs until the moment came to record them,” wrote McDonough. While filming The Johnny Cash Show, Young asked fellow guests singers James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt for some backing vocals. Taylor picked up Young’s banjo guitar, an instrument he had never before played in his life, and picked out a few harmonies for Old Man. That was how improvised everything was.

Carrie Snodgress at her Hollywood home, October 1970.
Carrie Snodgress at her Hollywood home, October 1970.Bettmann (Bettmann Archive)

The songs Alabama and Words were recorded at Young’s ranch, with vocals from Crosby, Stills and Nash. They are songs that would have gone down well with Crazy Horse, the band that had worked with Young on the albums Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969) and After The Gold Rush (1970), and who Young was still friendly with, although he preferred The Stray Gators.

The two songs recorded in London, A Man Needs a Maid and There’s a World, were embellished by Nitzsche’s production and the London Symphony Orchestra and sound as though they were designed for a movie soundtrack. The fourth location, Royce Hall, an auditorium on the campus of the University of California, witnessed the recording of one of Young’s most charismatic creations, The Needle and the Damage Done, one of the first songs to ever address heroin addiction so explicitly and which foreshadowed the death of Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten, who overdosed in November 1972 at the age of 29.

The front sleeve cover of ‘Harvest.’
The front sleeve cover of ‘Harvest.’

The subject matter of Harvest is painful even though Young was in love. The singer assumes that nothing lasts forever and sentimental injuries will appear along the way. On Heart of Gold, he says he is “searching… for a heart of gold” and that he is “getting old,” a sort of lyrical self-flagellation because he believes he will never be able to offer all the love another person requires. On Old Man, he confronts his own paradox in a song dedicated to the foreman on his ranch: unlike his employee, the singer is twenty-something and rich, but always in search of comfort: “Old man, take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you. I need someone to love me the whole day through.”

In 1975, Young and Snodgress separated. She had left her acting career behind to care for Zeke but Young continued to achieve success in an industry he is still active in. But he has never again reaped a triumph to match Harvest.

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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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