Blogs

Carlos Ruis Zafron (2005) ‘The Shadow of the Wind.’ Phoenix, trans. by Lucian Graves.

Some books make you scowl with displeasure. Some make you taller and better looking. Some make you fall in love. Some make you forget yourself and live only with the characters on the page. This is one of the latter. It didn’t start off that way. There are a number of narrators, but essentially it is the story of Daniel Sempere’s coming of age. I could just as easily say it is the story of Julian Carex, the author of ‘The Shadow of the Wind’...

The Killing Channel 4 (US version).

The Killing is remake of the hit TV series shown on BBC 4 (and as a must have box-set) right down to the bobbly wool jumper worn by the lead detective Sarah Lund. The woolly jumper wearer in this series is Sarah Linden (Mirielle Enos). Her sidekick Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnamen) had moved over from narcotics to homicide and this is his first case. The thing is, I can’t remember Sarah Lund’s sidekick in the original. I can only remember Sarah...

The Hour BBC 2.

The Hour is also on STV with that fat bird that is trying to get thin and used to be a singer, but now she’s a presenter. And I must admit she is not pretty, but pretty good. But, although there are plenty of them about, it’s not that hour. It’s the other The Hour, which is not Mad Men. It’s nothing to do with Mad Men. And anything to do with Mad Men is incidental. In fact, don’t even mention Mad Men. My first impression of The Hour is it is not...

No Luck

I was picking up dog shit. A guy came over from the house that was diagonal to the garden I was in. He'd that kind of expression on his face that said: friend I'm going to ask you a question. I put the yellow paddle of a spade down. It's hard to be friendly when you stink of shit. Your nose rides up and you tend to squint. It promotes the kind of attitude that smells up the world the wrong way. 'I spoke to you before about that tree-over there...

Michael Moore. Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) More4.

I kept thinking in clichés watching this: Who pays the piper. It’s a dog eat dog world. Pressure cooker of fear. Pillaging by the wealthy. Worshiping greed. A cliché is a well-worn piece of rhetoric, like an old music hall joke that everyone knows the punch line and laughs in advance. So Moore went through his repertoire. We all know its going to be ‘Roger and Me’(1989) about his attempt to interview the CEO of General Motors about job losses in...

I’ve Loved You So Long (Phailappe Claudel 2008) BBC 4.

Kristin Scott Thomas plays a woman who is taken into her sister’s home after spending 15 years in prison. I missed the start of this. Some films are like spending 15 years in prison, so I wasn’t particularly worried. By the time I’d joined the action her sister, who plays a university lecturer was joking and flirting with another middle class tweed jacketeer while KST stood and furtively smoked a cigarette. There are worse things that watching...

ABCtales Italian Holiday Offer

Through the good offices of one of our members we are able to offer you good folks the following offer at a wonderful villa in Italy: 'This has to be the most tranquil, understated Bed and Breakfast in the world. The views are stupendous, the food is splendid and it's the ultimate place for writers and artists to get away from it all. There is a whirlpool in the garden overlooking Perugia and the Apennines and a Turkish bath with chromotherapy...

Beyond Black

Hilary Mantel (2005) ‘Beyond Black’ Alison Hart is fat and a medium. Colette is not. She is sharp and thin. They are an odd couple tied together in this life, but Alison’s past comes back to haunt her. There are a number of set plays, such as Princess Diana’s death, but, for me the most interesting part by far was ‘About the author’ at the end, where Louise Tucker talks to the author. I have absolutely no idea why this book received such...

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, (2006)

based on a novel by Patrick Süskind. This is the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a cartoonish figure, and 18th century superman. His story is narrated by John Hurt. Dustin Hoffman is one of the perfumiers who endeavour to teach Jean his trade, which proves impossible, of course, because that is where his superpowers lie. He cannot fly, like Superman, but he can discern any scent and, with training in the perfumery trade, replicate it. His...

STV: The Football Years 1973-74. BBC 4 Top of the Pops 60s-70s.

The Football Years was interesting not only because it was mainly about Celtic’s double winning team and the European Cup semi final against ‘The Butchers of Bilbao, Athletic Madrid, which they lost, but because I remember bits and pieces of it and I was, in effect reliving my past. Similarly, the soundtrack of my young life The Jackson Five (a cartoon on Saturday morning), The Bay City Rollers posters splattered across my sister's walls and...

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