celticman's blog

Colson Whitehead (2016) The Underground Railway.

Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railway was a winner of The National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2017. There’s not a lot of room on the front cover for namedropping, but Barrack Obama describes the book as ‘Terrific’ and the New York Review of Books, ‘Dazzling’. I guess it resonates for a number of reasons. In some ways the story of Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia in the nineteenth century, before the...

Care, BBC 1, BBCiPlayer, written by Jimmy McGovern and Gillian Juckes, directed by David Blair.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0bvbf5n/care I like Jimmy McGovern’s dramas. Apart from Brookside, I’ve probably seen most of them. Care, well, it’s in the title. As a dramatist he’s got to make us care about single mum Jenny (Sheridan Smith) her elderly mum Mary (Alison Steadman) and the distant sister Claire (Sinead Keenan). And he begins with a car crash. Mary crashes the car with two kids in the back. Cue drama as we find out that the...

Barbra Streisand: Becoming an Icon 1942-1984, BBC 4, BBC iPlayer, director Nicolas Maupied.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0bt8x6z/barbra-streisand-becoming-an-icon-19421984?suggid=b0bt8x6z Barbra Streisand is a bit like the Rorschach-ink-blot test. Ugly or beautiful? Well, my sister Jo, used to get told she looked like Barbra Streisand. In other words, she had a big hooter. This was the consolation prize you didn’t want to win. Streisand redefined what it meant to be beautiful. If you listen to her feminist fan Camille Paglia...

The Most Hated Family in America (2007) BBCiPlayer, Louis Theroux America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis (2011) BBCiPlayer.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b007clvf/louis-theroux-the-most-hated-family-in-america https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0107zhy/louis-theroux-americas-most-hated-family-in-crisis These are snapshots of white America in 2006 and 2010 and the evangelical Phelp’s family from Topeka, Kansas, who preached a creed of hate and intolerance and labelled it Christianity. Who wrapped their family in the nation’s flag and the First Amendment of...

#End of Days, Podcast on BBC5Live, presented by Chris Warburton, produced by Ciaran Tracey and music by Hex from the album, Earth.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/search?filter=programmes&q=End%20Of%20Days&suggid=urn%3Abbc%3Aprogrammes%3Ap06qc33m I asked my girlfriend if she’d heard of Waco. No, she hadn’t. That shocked me a bit. But I’m the reader that sometimes writes stuff in the family, nobody ever reads. And, of course, I’d heard of David Koresh, but I didn’t know that wasn’t his real name, he’d picked it for the biblical resonance in the same way Shirley Crabtree called...

A Great British Injustice: The Maguire Story. BBC 2, BBCiPlayer, produced and directed by Eamonn Devlin and presented by Stephen Nolan.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0bs2v31/a-great-british-injustice-the-maguire-story?suggid=b0bs2v31 Fake news. Well, here’s a fake conviction that of the Maguire Seven: Anne Maguire, her husband Patrick, her teenage sons Vincent and Patrick, her brother Sean Smyth, her brother-in-law Guiseppe Conlon and a family friend, Patrick O’Neil. Prime minister Tony Blair was quoted on television and news media, on 10 th February 2005, to apologise...

Apostasy written and directed by Daniel Kokotajlo.

Debut screenwriter and director Daniel Kokotajalo weaves together apostasy in Kingdom Hall, and strands of growing sexuality and defiance in a North of England family setting. Middle-aged, Ivanna (Siobhan Finneran) has two teenage daughters and holds on to Jehovah Church doctrine like a nursing mother. The gold standard here is Jeanette Winterton’s autobiographical 1985 novel, adapted as a 1990 BBC serial, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. The...

Geez A Break Productions of Cinderella, at 543 Club for The Golden Friendship Club.

My old mate Jim McLaren invited me to the Christmas show for pensioners, even though I’m the same age as him and I’m not doddery, yet, although I can’t remember the last time I was at Panto and I hate Christmas. And I especially detest people who put their Christmas decorations up after Halloween and then wait until near Easter to put wee bunnies and eggs wrapped in red ribbons up on their walls. And you know what I think of people who buy...

The Last Tommies, BBC 4, 9pm, BBCiPlayer, directed by Nick Maddocks

Episode One: For King and Country https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0brjshr/wwi-the-last-tommies-series-1-1-for-king-and-country This is the kind of documentary series that the BBC does so well using archive footage and interviewing those that remember The Great War. We are shown a Zeppelin, which could travel at eighty miles per hour and carry two tons of explosive and told about the raid on Hull. An eyewitness remembered how shocking it...

Laurent Binet (2012) HHhH translated from the French by Sam Taylor

I had a theory that HHhH stood for Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich, but I wasn’t sure who or what the other H stood for. I wasn’t sure why three of the H were capitalised and one wasn’t. I was wrong in the right way. Hitler, Fuhrer, number one in the Reich, Himmler perhaps with the largest powerbase and his number two, but it was Herr Reinhard Heydrich who was ‘killer bureaucrat’ and gloried in being known as ‘the most dangerous man in the Reich’ who...

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