Blogs

Britain’s Secret Terror Force BBC 1 9pm. Leo Telling Producer and Director.

The Troubles. 1972. The IRA set off 1800 bombs in Belfast that year. They set up roadblocks to protect Catholics from the tit-for-tat drive-by shootings from Loyalists. The British Government or British Army decided to introduce the counter-insurgency tactics used in Kenya by Brigadiers with hyphenated names. But this was closer to home and it wasn’t blacks that were being shot, albeit it was working class Catholics. Hard working fathers like...

Alice Munro (2006) the view from Castle Rock

As Graham Greene famously said: ‘There’s always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.' This the seed crop of Munro’s stories. It shows her father’s, fathers’ father, a cousin of James Hogg, leaving the Ettrick Valley in Scotland for the wilds of America, which was really Canada. A good author draws you in and puts you on the boat with them. I was all for leaving the Laidlaw family on the boat, but I persevered until...

ABCtales publishes 100 000 Stories

ABCtales has just published its 100 000 th story — this is a major milestone for us and I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for your continuing support of the site, and for filling it with so much excellent work throughout the years. From its inception in September of 2000 ABCtales has been dedicated to supporting writers and helping them to develop in every way we can. And the stories speak for themselves – we’ve seen dozens of...

Rio at Warwick tomorrow

He's back! After two runs over in France we've brought him back to the UK for a 4yr old Novice Chase at Warwick tomorrow. It's been 278 days since we raced him in the UK. Not only that but we've been able to book Tony McCoy ( Champion Jockey) for the ride. Only seven runners and there are two extemely good prospects in the race. One from the Paul Nicholls stable and one from Charlie Longsdon. The other three horses have never been over the big...

Up in the Air (2009) BBC 2 11.10 directed by Jason Reitman

I’ve not enjoyed a film as much for a long time. Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) plays the kind of man I should hate. His job is to roam, first class, of course, over the United States firing employees for bosses to chicken to do so themselves. It’s a growth industry. Some of the early scenes were based on transcripts of former employees’ real life experiences. I’m sure men in employed in such an industry are not as suave as Ryan/George (or myself...

John Healy (2012 [1988]) The Grass Arena.

I thought I’d read this before, my memories pickled. Maybe I just lived it. My brother was an alcoholic. Dead. His pal’s Jas, Tommy, Billy. Dead. Dead. Dead. There’s more casualties. Drinks a funny thing. It builds you up and knocks you down. Healy knows that better than anyone. Violence is always a background hum. His Da tried to beat him into submission. The army tried to beat him into submission. The police lifted him and a regular beating...

New ABCtales Account on Twitter

ABCtales now has a new Twitter account: @ABC_Tales. Follow us for great reading recommendations, as well as event, competition and news announcements - we'll keep you informed with just about everything that's going on at ABC. If you’re already following @tcookabctales, keep an eye on your feed as the new account, @ABC_Tales, will be following you shortly. We'll keep posting updates on both accounts over the next week. Luke

Alice Munro (2001) Hateship, friendship, courtship, loveship, marriage. (2013) Dear Life.

I had heard of the Nobel Prize, but hadn’t heard of Alice Munro, sometimes these two things meet with a bang (oh dear). Each short story in the collections are long enough, or short enough, dependent on your mood, to read in one sitting. They are the ideal length. Time often opens out, between one paragraph and another, into ten, fifteen, thirty or forty years. In ‘Train’ for example Jackson scrapes his leg when jumping from a train, the next...

The Disappeared BBC 4 presented by Darragh McIntyre

The Disappeared, as the name suggests, were those taken from their homes by the IRA in Northern Ireland during the troubles and their bodies hidden in bogs and ditches in unmarked graves, often in the Republic of Ireland. The most poignant of these was thirty-seven-year old Jean McConville. Her husband had died of cancer. She was a widow and mother of ten children aged between six and sixteen when the paramilitaries came for her in 1972 in the...

Ajax 1—Celtic 0

As expected the third seeds in the group, playing at home, beat the fourth seeds. It was a bity, terrible game, particularly in the first half, which suited Celtic. They went in at half-time 0-0, which is the point we were hoping for. Using the Celtic calculator we’d have taken that point and beaten AC Milan at home to qualify for the next round. Now the Celtic calculator needs to take in new permutations that include just about everything,...

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