Blogs

Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves BBC 4 10pm

Don’t every wipe tears without gloves is in the first shot, of the first scene, of the first episode (this was the second episode) and is a piece of advice given by a senoir nurse to her more junior partner as they tend to a bedridden youth in a Stockholm hospital in the 1980s. Both nurses wear protective masks and boots and are amoured against this new virus HIV that is contagious in a way that people don’t really understand. The contagiant in...

Truman Capote (1966 [2000]) In Cold Blood.

American blue-blood Truman Capote’s factionalised account of the murder, Saturday, 14th November 1959, of forty-eight year old William Clutter, his wife ‘poor’ Bonnie (nee Fox) who had ‘little spells of melancholia’ three years younger than him and two of his teenage children who lived at home with them, the teenagers Nancy, who was pretty and popular and Kenyon who was more reserved, was a blueprint for later works such as Norman Mailer’s The...

'Tory vermin'

‘When I speak of Tories,’ Bevan said, addressing the Durham Miner’s Gala in July 1948, ‘I mean the small body of people who, whenever they have the chance, have manipulated the political influence of the country for the benefit of the priveledged few. I am [son of a Welsh miner] prepared to forgive and forget the wrongs done to me. I am not prepared to forgive and forget the wrongs done to my people.' Labour's response was the creation of the...

Robert Tressell (1911) The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

It’s been over thirty years since I’ve read this book. And it’s over a 100 years, two world wars, the Holocaust, use of the atomic and hydrogen bombs, countless other wars, great depressions (including this one) since the working conditions that Tressell descibes so well have receded into the past. When I first read this book I remember feeling angry and somewhat excited that somebody understood that life didn’t have to be that way. Now I’m more...

Offcuts

My dad always regales people with the witty tale of when he brought a raw grey chicken home from work and showed me up its slack-skinned arse. He stuck his hand up firmly up the shaft and chased me round the kitchen with it, making hysterical clucking and gobbling noises. That was really odd behaviour. At work, dad used to wear white coats made from clingy acrylic. They were his standard uniform with press stud buttons that cracked like bones...

6.12.13 Story, Poem and Inspiration Point of the Week

This week we've been hard at work updating the site after our transition last week. I think we're almost there, although there are, as always still a few naggling (and important) details. We'll get there soon - but thank you all for bearing with us and your support and feedback during the change! I'd like to let everyone know that the ABCtales Winter get-together is happening next week here in London, on December the 11th at the Wheatsheaf pub...

6.12.13 Story, Poem and Inspiration Point of the Week

This week we've been hard at work updating the site after our transition last week. I think we're almost there, although there are, as always still a few naggling (and important) details. We'll get there soon - but thank you all for bearing with us and your support and feedback during the change! I'd like to let everyone know that the ABCtales Winter get-together is happening next week here in London, on December the 11th at the Wheatsheaf pub...

Sarah Crossan (2012) The Weight of Water.

First things first this has the look and feel of a poetry book. By that I mean it does that old enjambment trick lines skittering across the page and jutting out at unnatural angles. Has it got a natural metre, de Dum, de Dum, de Dum? I don’t really know. My mind lacks that weighty balance. I treat it with discourtesy like a comic book without pictures I can snaffle down in one go. ‘Floating’, for example, begins, ‘Willian is at the swimming...

29.11.13 Story, Poem and Inspiration Point of the Week

It's been an exciting week for ABCtales. As you can all see the redesign has now been implemented, and with it comes a set of new features. I hope you've been having fun with them, and on the whole everything has transitioned rather well! There are, of course, more than a few bumps along the way, but we'll be working these out over the next few weeks. We'll also be experimenting with the aesthetics, so don't be surprised if you come to the site...

CS Lewis: the Lives and Loves BBC 4 9pm

Biographer and fellow Oxford graduate A.N. Wilson looks at the man behind The Narnia Chronicles. He follows Lewis’s path from a public school boy that couldn’t hold a bat or kick a ball and was thus doomed to failure to a brilliant scholar, privately tutored, that got a double first (Greek and Latin and the Greats) and almost as an afterthought English. English being treated not very seriously at Oxford, the kind of subject a second-rate kind of...

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