Blogs

The Singing Detective

Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective, directed by Jon Amiel and starring Michael Gambon as the Singing Detective. Well, not as the Singing Detective, because he is a fictional product of Philip Marlowe’s deluded brain. He is an author lying in a hospital bed suffering from arthritic psoriasis. His body is one big scab. His books come alive in his head and onscreen. Patients break into popular song and dance numbers and Michael Gambon as Philip...

My Dog Tulip BBC 4

My Dog Tulip BBC4 by J.R. Ackerly, screenplay by Paul Ferlinger. This is an autobiography of a man and his dog, or a dog and his man. It’s a love story. They love each other. J.R. Ackerly is a fusty middle aged man who lives alone. His life is transformed when Tulip arrives. It’s his dog and no other. When his sister tries to woo Tulip with doggy snacks and tricks it doesn’t work. No vet can treat Tulip because he is so love sick he won’t allow...

Catholics BBC 4

I really couldn’t miss this. It would be like missing mass, only much worse, because this is BBC 4 and they put this programme on for me. I recognise the iconography, the statues, the Virgin Marys, the pictures of Bernadette Souberous ( not sure if that’s how you spell her name). I think there was also a picture of …oh, I can’t remember his name…A Man for all Seasons. There were some interesting facts. It costs £20K a year to educate these men...

Lourdes (2009)

Lourdes 2009 directed by Jessica Hausner, shown on BBC 4. Sylivie Tsdud plays Christine a pilgrim to Lourdes. We do not know what is wrong with her, but she is shown being spoon fed and helped into bed by a young girl. Christine is effectively a head on a stick. She looks on as the young girls flirt with their male counterparts and, in particular, a handsome young man, Kuno, whom they all fancy. It is Christine that first speaks to him. She...

Prawn Sandwich/Black Shoes Competition Results

Congratulations (and £100 prizes) go to Judygee and Kilb50 and the runners up (with £25 prizes) are Alison McManus and albamac. There's lots of commendations and an explanation of how I arrived at my decision here: http://www.abctales.com/magazine/talecatching

Jo Brand on Kissing BBC 4

Jo Brand is a comedienne. She is quite funny. She is not someone you would want to kiss. I don’t want to get familiar with her, but Jo looks a bit like a truck driver with lipstick. Perhaps that was the idea of the programme. An hour devoted to laughing at kissing and Jo. An hour is quite a long time, so how did me and Jo fill it? Well, we found out that Jo doesn’t like that kind of kissing, you know, the one that goes on in public, people...

Bullets, Boots and Bandages BBC 4

Bullets, Boots and Bandages BBC 4, produced and directed by Jeff Wilkinson, presented by historian Saul David. This is drama in the detail. Why did British Forces beat the French army at Blenheim? Simple technology and attention to detail. A cart with springs could pull a heavier load quicker, because it had springs, didn’t churn up the roads, and allowed that password of modern armies: mobility. The Brits could travel 12 miles a day. The French...

Putin, Russia and the West BBC 2. [Endgame]

This is history in the making and it tells us that history is repetition. It began with Putin, the strong man confronting the oligarchs, who had ransacked Russia for personal gain and reaped the rewards of countless billions, trillions and effective control of the state. Putin the exKGB man wanted a different kind of democracy. He wanted the state to be in control. It was a return to what he knew. Next up was Chechnya, part of a greater Russia...

Wild Abandon by Joe Dunthorne - a review

Joe is 'spack' on ABCtales and his first novel 'Submarine' has met with huge success, including being made into an excellent film. His second novel 'Wild Abandon' is now out and it's set in a commune. My friend, Red Tina, was one of the founders of a well known commune and so I thought it apposite for her to review the book. Here are her thoughts: Wild Abandon is a bit of a romp about mid-life crisis and family breakdown. The story has added...

El Classico 2

El Classico 2 – Real Madrid 2. Should have won. Could have won. Didn’t win. It’s the worst feeling in the world. I was watching bits of the Liverpool vs Man City game. I missed the first thirty seconds. That was long enough for Higuain to miss a chance. Ronaldo missed. The ball comes into the box, a header missed from three yards, hits the Barca keeper Valdes bounces out and hit another Real player. Real hits the framework of the post and bar...

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