Blogs

working-class shirkers and scum

70% of British television producers, polled in 2006, at the Edinburgh Television Festival thought that Little Britain ’s Vicky Pollard was an accurate reflection of working- class youth. This was the shocking statistic that helped to introduce the Radio Times Huw Weldon Memorial Lecture in 2013. There’s no need to re-iterate that shows such as Jeremy Kyle, Skint and Shameless helped shape the political narrative of withdrawing from the welfare...

This Happy Land

I watched this on BBC iPlayer. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01k3ccx This Happy Land is a play on words. The allusion is to Shakespeare’s Richard II, Act II, Scene I and John of Gaunt’s great patriotic speech, ‘Against the envy of less happier lands, This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England, This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings’. Then again it may simply be an allusion to a specific pit village in Boness called,...

Rio at Ascot on Friday

We were concerned about the ground. If we'd had a frost then the ground would have been too hard. But its been mild and a nice drop of recent rain has made the ground soft and just what we want for Rio. Because of his last win he's up in class and up against some good Novice Chasers. But, we know he jumps well and the distance is no problem for him. We're hoping to get either Richard Johnson who rode him last time or Tony McCoy. You can't get...

ABCTales Youtube Channel

It’s not Christmas yet but ABCtales already has a few present for you — head over to our brand new ABCtales Youtube Channel http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEqv-2OQ7QXdMkXjcDREV9A and have a watch of Tony reading ‘Grumpy Old Man’. Now there’s a stunning performance for you. Just as good – and even more festive – is Rich’s rendition of ‘It Was the Night Before Christmas, See?’ http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEqv-2OQ7QXdMkXjcDREV9A/videos?view=1...

Janey Godley (2005) Handstands in the Dark

The librarian looked at me when I checked this book out. I’m used to this, being very handsome, a bit like a young Sean Connery only older and balder and a bit more in the beef stakes. But the librarian was a man. I’ve nothing against that kind of thing. These barriers are breaking down. If a librarian wants to be a man and wants to gawk at me and manhandle my choice of book then that’s his perogative. He looked as if he wanted to say something...

Derren Brown: The Great Art Robbery. Channel 4, 9pm

You’ve got to watch Derren Brown. He’s so good as what he does that when he tells Ivan Massow that he will steal a painting worth £100 000 from a pop-up art exhibition he’s organising, tell him the day when he’s going to do it, the time he’s going to do it -3pm- and gives the art dealer a picture of the person that’s going to steal it for him, then you expect him to be able to do it. He bets Massow a nominal £1 that he will and lets him organise...

13.12.13 Story, Poem and Inspiration Point of the Week

A big thanks to everyone who came out on Wednesday to ABCtales’ Winter get-together. It was a wonderful evening, filled with fantastic readings and even a few surprises (not least of which was the true identity of Rosa Tabula!) And despite all the carousing and the many pints consumed, we also managed to raise £120 for the Railway Children. Thanks to everyone who came! We’re planning to have our next get together in London in late March, but,...

John Winton (1999) Life in British Submarines 1901-1999; The Silent War BBC 2, part 2, ‘The Russians are Coming’.

The first Inspecting Captain of Submarine Boats, as they were called, was advised never to go near them by the Director of Naval Construction, Sir William White, as he had once descended in a submergable boat in a London dock in 1887 and had been stuck on the bottom for an hour or so. Three American type ‘Holland’ submarine boats were built in Barrow in Furness in 1901. They were sixty-three feet long and were shaped—in a way associated with...

Sebastian Barry (2011) On Canna’s Side.

Lily Bere is determined to kill herself. Her beloved grandson Bill, a Gulf War veteran is dead and her life seems blighted, but as an eighty-nine-year old woman she can hardly muster the energy to commit herself to that final act. Her life has been full of loss and betrayal. She takes us back to the tranquil times before the Eastern Uprising when her dad had risen to chief superintentant of Division B, one of the top police officers in Dublin...

Barcelona 6—Celtic 1.

Let me begin with a confession, whenever Celtic are playing Barcelona, whether home or away, and some ‘neutral’ asks me what the score will be I always say Barcelona will win 3-0. I assume that Barcelona are at least three times better than Celtic. Yet I stuck a couple of quid on Georgios Samaras to score first and Celtic to win 1-0 (200/1). For that to happen the footballing universe must turn slightly the wrong way and our goalie must have the...

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