Blogs

Ben Earl Trick Artist. Channel 4, 9pm.

The trick was I watched this at 10pm after watching The Genius of Marie Curie. We all know that she won the Nobel for Physics and later the Nobel for Chemistry, and the half-life of uranium is 16 000 years. What is the half- life of TV fame? Ben Earl’s TV stunts are undoubtedly brilliant. I can’t explain them, but I can’t explain a lot of things. I can’t explain, for example, why Kylie is so cute, but her sister isn’t. I can’t explain what I...

The East End Butcher Boy by Joe Lawrence (Jolono)

I read this on Kindle. I prefer paper but it was kinda apt reading it electronically as I'd already read most of it on abc tales. It's a short book; a few hours reading. But since I love books that's not a chore and this is a love story. It's a page turner in a book without pages. Young Joe, aged 14, got a part-time job as a butcher's boy. His gaffer was Roy and he showed him all the world had to offer- and it was there for the taking -for those...

John Niven The Second Coming.

Malcolm Bradbury ‘The History Man’ and creative writing tutor to a shedload of novelists, suggests that if you get to page 25, or thereabouts, you’ve made a commitment to a book and are likely to finish it. I used to be like that, feeling guilty if I started a book and never finished it. I started Siri Hustvedt, What I Loved, three times, but never got beyond the first two pages, now I know it’s good, very good indeed and I’d have berated myself...

Dave Allen: God’s Own Comedian, BBC2, 9pm

I used to watch Dave Allen at Large with my family. It was one of the few shows my Da liked. There was a checklist of things he liked. One of them was being Irish. Check. One of them was being Catholic. Check. Another of them was being Irish and Catholic. Check-check. It also helped that Dave Allen looked a bit like his best mate McBride with the coal-black hair and a subversive attitude to authority. It was all well and good to mock the church...

The East End Butcher Boy

24th April 2013. A date that wil stay with me for a long time. It's the day my book was available on Amazon. It took a year to write and then another year to re-write and edit. But at last its out there. http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-ke... I've also put a couple of vids on youtube to promote it. Here are the links http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxltlSu89lo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmTcZy4NNdc...

North Korea: A State of Mind BBC 4 10pm

written by Daniel Gordon and produced by Nicholas Bonner. This documentary is like a visual diary, it begins February 2003 and ends April 2003. It follows young gymnasts and their families as they prepare for the Mass Games in Pyongyang. Two million people live in Pyongyang and one million take part in the games which includes mass parades to celebrate the auspicious day of Kim Jong- Il's or Kim Jong il's beneficent leadership. Both are...

Daniel Woodrell (1998) Tomato Red; (2006) Winter's Bone.

Both of these are short books. I read Tomato Red in about three hours. Winter's Bone is about the same length. Both are situated in small Missouri towns, but in Winter's Bone Ozak is almost a backwood identity, and Ree Dolly Jessup is part of that crazed religion of don't tell and take care of your own kin. It's told in the third person. Here's how it starts: Ree 'Dolly stood at break of day on her cold front steps and smelled coming flurries...

North Korea: Crossing the Line. BBC 4 10.50, written and directed by Daniel Gordon.

North Korea is the kind of place that Team America: World Police can make fun of with impunity. But with KimJong-Un, son of Kim Jong-Il 'testing' rockets and threatening nuclear war the world seems nearer Armageddon. This documentary gives some insight into North Korea. But mass starvation and the death of perhaps millions to hunger is quickly passed over. The 'labour' camps in which three generations of families are send to be routinely...

Susan Cain (2012) Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.

I am introverted, so why am I telling you this? Does that make me an extroverted introvert, or worse, is it an affectation something I've adopted along the way to make myself more interesting, like a lisp and a way of twisting my finger upwards when drinking tea, but nobody noticed? The answer, of course, is it's complicated. Introversion or extroversion is on a continuum. I scored about 15 out of 20 in the initial check-list score, with 2 or 3...

Fracine Prose (2006) Reading Like a Writer.

This is a delightful book. I've read it a couple of times and while I can't say I now read like a writer I can say anyway with called Prose knows their prose, in the same way that someone called pist knows their...Ok it's a rubbish analogy. This is one of my favourite quotes from Babel: 'I work like a pack mule, but it's my own choice. I'm like a galley slave who's chained for life at his oar, but who loves the oar. Everything about it...I go...

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