Blogs

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...

Doganasia

Max had stopped eating, not even tempted by strips of chicken. Sometimes he’d gulp down water, but walkies was a place he didn’t want to go. He was an old man that sometimes raised his head from his cushion in the corner of the kitchen and looked on. A smart dog than knew it was time to go. The vet was good with the old man. That’s their job. I counted fifteen pictures on the practice wall. It’s an industry. You hear the horror stories of dogs...

A Very British Murder BBC 4 9pm ‘A Taste of Blood’.

When I can’t really settle, read or write, I turn my brain off and watch TV. There’s not much difference between my recumbent brain and my active brain, but a good way of telling the difference, without fancy machinery, is for the latter, to check whether my eyes are open. I initially thought A Very British Murder was something to do with George Orwell’s short article of the same name. It might well be there are another four episodes. In this...

Daniel Handler (2002) the basic eight

The cover of this book reminds readers that Daniel Handler is the author of the Lemony Snicket series that’s why I gave it a chance. I’ve not read Lemony Snicket, but I did see a film starring Jim Carey playing a goofball Jim Carey character, which I quite liked. This I imagine is the jump to an adult version of children’s books. I got to page sixty of Flannery Culp’s diary. We immediately know she is in prison and she and her seven school...

Jacob A. Riis ([1890] 2004) How the Other Half Lives, Studies Among the Tenements of New York.

There is little point in thinking about tenements and New York and putting the two together and imaging you have some kind of understanding as I did. Like me, you’ll probably be on the wrong continent. To make comparisons you need to think of other continents like the slums of Calcutta or pre-Communist Peking. 330 000 audited tenants per square mile in New York tenements of the 1890s. In The Bend between Broadway and the Bowery for example, were...

Val McDermid (2009) A Darker Domain.

This story has two intertwining narratives and reads like a screenplay. It’s 392 pages and it can be read in one go, or two—as I did—it goes down smooth as Guinness. I only spotted one cliché, ‘it was like herding cats’ but that was 200 odd pages in and is forgivable because it was qualified by another image. McDermid was a journalist that lived in Fife. She has a visceral understanding of the what the miner’s strike of 1984/5 did to that...

Mean Streets (1973) BBC 4 10pm directed by Martin Scorese and screenplay by Scorese and Mardik Martin.

The film opens with a clunky voice over with Charlie (Harvey Keitel) in a Roman Catholic Church having an extempore debate about the nature of hell and eternal suffering. He holds his fingers over a candle and tries not to flinch. Charlie’s idea of redemption is to try and save his younger cousin Johnny Boy (a young Robert de Niro) from the loan sharks he borrows money from. Charlie’s also having an affair with Johnny Boy’s cousin Teresa (Amy...

A New Dawn for ABCtales

I, Tony Cook, will be stepping down as Editor on October 7th and Luke Neima will be taking over. This is a major step forward for ABC - Luke will be full time and he's committed to taking us onwards and upwards whilst still retaining all of our core values - open to all, free of charge, supportive and community led. I will still retain ownership of the site and will be involved at every step of the business - I just won't be doing all the day to...

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