celticman's blog

The Booker Prize 2020, won by Douglas Stuart for his novel Shuggie Bain.

Who will speak for us? —is sometimes as simple as who speaks like us. We all might be Jock Tamson’s bairns, but in the real world debut novelists those using Scottish dialect don’t win prizes. How Late it Was, How Late , well it was 1985 when something like this happened. James Kelman caused a kerfuffle. Rabbi Julia Neuberger saying the book was ‘crap’. I prefer Jeff Torrington, Swing Hammer Swing , or Janice Galloway’s memoir that’s not a...

Small Axe: Mangrove, BBC 1, BBC iPlayer, written Alastair Siddons and Steve McQueen, directed by Steve McQueen.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p08vy19b/small-axe-series-1-mangrove In my day Steve McQueen was the go-to guy if you wanted ride a motorcycle over barbed wire to escape the Germans, or rescue screaming women and children from a building skyscraper. We’re still waiting for the enquiry into Grenfell Tower, but we all know the score. Nothing much will be done, while the issues of class and race hatred will be quietly shunted into a side-line...

Play for Today, The Black Stuff, BBC 1, BBC 4, BBC iPlayer, written by Alan Bleasdale and directed by Jim Goddard.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00tw1jz/play-for-today-series-10-... Most people my age fondly remember Boys from The Black Stuff shown in the early 1980s. Yosser Hughes’s (Bernard Hill) catchphrase: ‘I can do that, gie’s a job!’ The Black Stuff was a prequel to Boys from The Black Stuff . It had the kind of audience figures—I’d guess around 15-20 million—that had cultural resonance in its depiction of working-class life in rundown...

David Gange (2019) The Frayed Atlantic Edge: A Historian’s Journey from Shetland to the Channel

David Gange (2019) The Frayed Atlantic Edge: A Historian’s Journey from Shetland to the Channel. Historian David Gange travels by kayak around the coast of Scotland facing the Atlantic in winter sounds like madness. Takes in Ireland in spring time and crosses the channel to the less ragged coast of Bardsey in Wales and Bristol and Cornwall in the summer. He offers a low-down view from the sea that mimics E.P. Thompson’s bottom-up view of history...

The Mole: Infiltrating North Korea, BBC iPlayer, writer and director Mads Brügger.

The Mole: Infiltrating North Korea, BBC iPlayer, writer and director Mads Brügger. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000nr85/the-mole-infiltrating-north-korea-series-1-part-1 https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000nr87/the-mole-infiltrating-north-korea-series-1-part-2 A cautionary tale. Otto Warmbier, a student of the University of Michigan was freed by North Korean officials after being detained and sentenced to 15 years for allegedly...

Joe Biden wins

I’m delighted. I kept checking the US election results in the same way I usually check the football results to see how my team, Celtic, are doing. I get it. I really do. I’m not American. I was not going to influence the almost 75 million polled votes for Joe Biden, nor the just over 70 million votes for Donald J Trump. For the last five years I’ve called him the moron’s moron. He is no more. When the 45 th United States President was elected, I...

Greg Palast, How to Steal the Presidency and Get Away with It, (scorecard) 2000-1

Al Gore, of course, won the 2000-1 election, but an unfamiliar word entered the lexicon – chad. An appeal to the Supreme Court called for a recount of the votes in Florida. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_v._Gore Palast shows that following the 2000-1 Presidential election stories of African American voters being targeted, racial profiling, that excluded voters from the electoral roll weren’t fake news, but fact. He had a copy of two CD-Rom...

John MacLeod (2010) River of Fire: The Clydebank Blitz

River of Fire is a book about before and after The Clydebank Blitz . Those who died in the aftermath of Luftwaffe bombing of Clydebank on Thursday 13 th March 1941 and the following night. Those who survived the bombing and fled the town. Those who stayed. Others that came through a sense of duty and solidarity to help the victims of the bombing. John MacLeod looks at the aftermath, the thousands, who did not return to Clydebank after March 1941...

Lisa Jewell (2009) The truth about Melody Browne

I sometimes wonder if books are like bananas, after a certain time they go off and are sold at bargain-basement prices. This book was a clearance - 50p. That’s around the price you pay for books in charity shops. I got it for nothing. And no, I didn’t steal it. I just read it before the person was putting it into the charity shop dumped it. I read a good idea today about books you dislike, rather than giving it the one-star treatment and writing...

Play For Today: Just a Boys’Game, BBC 4, BBC iPlayer, written by Peter McDougall, Director John McKenzie.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p032kjg0/play-for-today-series-10-1-just-a-boys-game ‘You’re getttin’ it McQuillan’. I’m old enough to remember this when it was first broadcast 8 th November 1979. Peter McDougall’s portrayal of working class life hit a nerve. It helped that large chunks of it were filmed in Clydebank and Drumchapel. Marathon shipyards featured. Or it might have been John Browns. We’re on the nostalgia trail. By day Jake...

Pages