Blogs

Kazuo Ishiguro Never Let Me Go.

Kazuo Ishiguro (2005) Never Let Me Go . Ishiguro won the Booker Prize for The Remains of the Day which begins with Stevens at Darlington Hall fretting whether he should go on an expedition to the West Country in Mr Farraday’s Ford. It doesn’t seem to him quite proper, Stevens being a butler and, well, Farraday being less of a master that allows such things. The big question of what is a life for? is asked. The same question pops up in Never Let...

27.12.13 Story, Poem and Inspiration Point of the Week

I hope everyone has passed a Merry Christmas. I've certainly been enjoying the fruits of the holiday season on ABC—in the past few weeks I've read some of the best Christmas writing I've ever come across, and in quantity. More than a few of this week's stories and poems I paused over, and I couldn't help but read a couple out over the fire on Christmas. There's just over a week left for submissions to our Winter competition. Entry is only £5...

Jane Eyre BBC 2, 8.30pm.

Directed by Cary J Fukanaga with a screenplay by Moira Buffini this is an elegant adaptation of Chatlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. It begins with Jane’s (Mia Wasikwaska) flight away from Thrornfield Hall across wide sky and desolate moors, which is more difficult than you imagine when respectable women of that era were expected to wear a whale-bone phone booth nipped at the waist until they couldn’t breath properly. It skates over Jane having to gnaw...

Denis Avey (2011) The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz.

This is a memoir ghosted by Rom Broomby, with a dedication ‘To the memory of Ernie Lobert, and a man, I knew only as Hans’. The title of the book is misleading. Denis Avey did not break into Auschwitz. He was a British prisoner of war working as a slave labourer constructing a plant for IB Farben (now called Bayer IG Farben) in Auschwitz. In the camp hierarchy he was literally at the top of the food chain. His uniform kept him relatively warm...

A.S Jasper (2013 [1969]) A Hoxton Childhood.

Jan, the narrator, is aged eight in 1913 when this memoir begins. It takes the reader through the First World War and into the mass unemployment of the 1920s and finishes with his eventual marriage to a childhood sweetheart. It’s a slim volume and can be read in one sitting, as I did. In simple sentences it explains what it was like to part of the working poor and living through a period of social change. The book begins with a set-to and make-...

20.12.13 Story, Poem and Inspiration Point of the Week

Happy Christmas, one and all. I'm home in Canada for the holidays - so apologies for the late update this week. The sun is just up and doing it's best to get through the snow out here on the West coast. It's frightful weather, but inside the fire is nearing delightful, though we may need to ladle on a bit more coal before we're ready to let it snow. We've nowhere else to go. So the thing to do is hole up in front of the Christmas tree and read!...

Wendy Lower (2013) Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields.

Most of in the Aktions took place in the Wild East of Ukraine, Poland and the Ukraine and were perpetrated by men. Lower looks at women’s role in the genocidial killing of undesireables. Over half a million women were sent to these new lands as nurses, teachers, secretaries and wives. Most suffered the collective amnesia of that time. Most followed orders. Case studies of women who administered lethal injections, gassed and starved the sick, the...

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...

Pages