Anthony Burgess would feel right at home at the Mods vs Rockers bash at Grappa's Cellar on Saturday - the Manchester-born writer's most famous work, A Clockwork Orange, was inspired by the "loutish" and "hoodlum" youths associated with the opposing British subcultures. Burgess was one of the most prolific writers of the last century but many may not know that he was briefly imprisoned in Spain for calling General Franco a "filthy swine". As well as books, essay collections, poetry-prose and biographies, Burgess wrote musicals, including one about Leon Trotsky …

Born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, in 1879, the Marxist revolutionary and theorist, politician and founding leader of the Red Army was one of the most important figures of the Russian revolution. Although he fell out of favour with the Soviet elite, and was eventually assassinated in Mexico ("He got an ice pick that made his ears burn", as fans of British band The Stranglers well know), his role was pivotal to the development of the Soviet Union. Trotsky had an affair with Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, whose life was turned into a biopic starring Salma Hayek …

The first Mexican to be nominated for an Academy Award for best actress, Hayek is not someone you want to startle down a dark alley; she practices Krav Maga, the self-defence system used by the Israeli military. Apparently, Hayek's grandmother would regularly shave young Salma's head and eyebrows because she thought it would make her hair grow thicker, glossier and darker. Hayek was a co-founder of the 2013 global campaign for female empowerment, Chime For Change; joining her in that Gucci-sponsored crusade was Beyoncé Knowles …

The Texas-born artiste, who is currently making waves with her second "visual" album, Lemonade, holds a number of records. For example, her announcement that she was pregnant at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2011 set off a twitterstorm, establishing a new world record for the most tweets made per second (8,868). In 2001, Beyoncé landed a major role in the MTV made-for-television film Carmen: A Hip Hopera. Set in Philadelphia, the film is a modern interpretation of the 19th-century opera Carmen, by Georges Bizet …

The French romantic composer, born in 1838, was a heavy smoker, and died of a heart attack at the age of 36, three months after the première of Carmen, unaware that his opera would become a spectacular and enduring success. The opera also inspired Carmen Jones (1943), a London revival of which won the Laurence Olivier Award for best stage musical in 1992. That award is named - surprise, surprise - after the Laurence Olivier …

He may have been known for his good looks and magnificent speaking voice but, when presenting at the Oscars in 1985, the British actor forgot to name the best picture nominees. He simply opened the envelope and proclaimed, " Amadeus". In 1946, Olivier played the doomed King Oedipus in a theatrical performance of Oedipus Rex, the Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was translated into English in 1972 by Anthony Burgess.