Blogs

The Seventies BBC 2 9pm Produced and Directed by Todd McCarthy presented by historian Dominic Sandbrook. ‘Goodbye Great Britain 75-77’.

As usual I’ve come to this series late, just as Bernard Manning’s shouting last orders in the Wheeltappers and Shunter’s Club, the third out of four episodes, but it doesn’t really matter. I’ll tell you a secret—I was there. My younger self looks over my shoulder as I write and whispers ‘you plonker, it wasn’t like that, it was like this?’ So what if there was a monetary crisis and Britain had to obtain a $2 billion dollar bailout from the IMF,...

A Review of 'Cigarettes, Beer and Love', by Ralph Dartford

Ralph Dartford has been a member of ABC since the beginning. He's just put out a fantastic collection of poems, and I wanted to share this glowing review from Rachael Smart (a.k.a VeraClark) with you all: In his debut collection, Ralph Dartford presents narrative poems that are compassionate and heartfelt, gritty and bleak, brimming with insight, experience, truths and tragedy. For starters, ‘Cigarettes, Beer and Love’ is up there with some of...

The Day I Got My Sight Back BBC 1 11.35pm (Scotland) directed by Sally George.

I might as well throw in a couple of quotes to show my classical credential (of which I’ve none) and to show that I wasn’t just gawping at other peoples’ misery. Wordsworth claimed that sight was the most despotic of the senses. We all had these kinds of conversations when we were younger: What would you do if…? You were blind? We were always gagging to kill ourselves for having spots, ginger hair, ears that were too big or a nose that blotted...

Northern Soul vs The Ottomans

The Ottomans: Europe’s Muslim Emperors BBC 2 11.20pm. Produced and directed by Gillian Bancroft and presented by Rageh Ommar this is, I suppose the equivalent of BBC saying we’ve done the Jews (Simon Schama The Story of the Jews) now I suppose we better do the Muslims. The latter had Simon Schama doing everything: writing, directing, appearing on camera, twiddling the funny bone, the former has Rageh Ommar and you know what, and this shouldn’t...

The revolutioary Miliband brothers and me

I take my cues directly from God. On a Sunday, apart from reading the papers and watching highlights of the football, I don’t do anything. There’s no shame in this, unless you’re unemployed and part of the feckless poor in which case every day is Sunday and, according to Cameronian conventional wisdom, you should be led to the stocks and pilloried with the left-over fruit of the rich man’s banquet. Some are born great. Some achieve greatness...

Today's Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe

For those of us who are horse racing fans, the first Sunday in October is a day we all wait for. Today’s the day! At Longchamp in Paris the best 3 year old plus Horses in the world come together to race in the “Prix de I’Arc de Triomphe”. This year, five French, four Irish, one British, one German, two Japanese, one Brazilian, one American and a few others, meet to find out who is the best horse in the world over a mile and a half. The best flat...

Jodi Picoult (2006) The Tenth Circle

The cover asks ‘Your daughter says she was raped. But the man she’s accused was her boyfriend. WHAT WOULD YOU DO?’ My inevitable answer is DON’T READ THIS BOOK! The back pages tell me she is the UK’s number one fiction writer for woman. I thought it was Barbara Cartland, but there is a kind of glory in not knowing. I admit it. I’m a book snob. I’ve tried writing. I should know better. I give The Tenth Circle a few pages. They don’t really grab...

Celtic 0 – Barcelona 1

The Champions League is where Celtic want to be, whisper it need to be. With the crowd willing the team to go forward and win, the bunkum of them being the so called twelfth man is almost believable. Barcelona are better than Celtic, but that doesn’t always mean they’ll always win, as last year proved. Messi was out. Watching them struggle in other fixtures, most notably away to Bayern Munich, showed quite clearly that Barcelona are not the same...

Rio back in France

Well he's back out again tomorrow in Auteuil France. Not such a stretch this time. Eurostar to Paris then a cab ride. It a big race. Lots of prize money. Got to give it to the French they do put up some fantastic money for young Chasers. Rio is still only four and perhaps we have expected too much from him. He still needs to get experience and thats why we're running him in France where there are plenty of four year old novice chase races. In...

Simon Schama The Story of the Jews BBC 2 9pm.

I’ve watched two the four programmes shown so far. The final episode concludes tonight. I’ll need to catch the other two episodes on BBC iPlayer and I’ll probably buy the book. TV, of course, is accused of a great dumbing down, but I’m pretty dumb and I like things to be explained to me in ways that I can understand. Schama gets excited by ideas and it’s infectious. He shows that it seems to be some kind of historical rule that everyone from the...

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