celticman's blog

The Seventies BBC 2 9pm Produced and Directed by Todd McCarthy presented by historian Dominic Sandbrook. ‘Goodbye Great Britain 75-77’.

As usual I’ve come to this series late, just as Bernard Manning’s shouting last orders in the Wheeltappers and Shunter’s Club, the third out of four episodes, but it doesn’t really matter. I’ll tell you a secret—I was there. My younger self looks over my shoulder as I write and whispers ‘you plonker, it wasn’t like that, it was like this?’ So what if there was a monetary crisis and Britain had to obtain a $2 billion dollar bailout from the IMF,...

The Day I Got My Sight Back BBC 1 11.35pm (Scotland) directed by Sally George.

I might as well throw in a couple of quotes to show my classical credential (of which I’ve none) and to show that I wasn’t just gawping at other peoples’ misery. Wordsworth claimed that sight was the most despotic of the senses. We all had these kinds of conversations when we were younger: What would you do if…? You were blind? We were always gagging to kill ourselves for having spots, ginger hair, ears that were too big or a nose that blotted...

Northern Soul vs The Ottomans

The Ottomans: Europe’s Muslim Emperors BBC 2 11.20pm. Produced and directed by Gillian Bancroft and presented by Rageh Ommar this is, I suppose the equivalent of BBC saying we’ve done the Jews (Simon Schama The Story of the Jews) now I suppose we better do the Muslims. The latter had Simon Schama doing everything: writing, directing, appearing on camera, twiddling the funny bone, the former has Rageh Ommar and you know what, and this shouldn’t...

The revolutioary Miliband brothers and me

I take my cues directly from God. On a Sunday, apart from reading the papers and watching highlights of the football, I don’t do anything. There’s no shame in this, unless you’re unemployed and part of the feckless poor in which case every day is Sunday and, according to Cameronian conventional wisdom, you should be led to the stocks and pilloried with the left-over fruit of the rich man’s banquet. Some are born great. Some achieve greatness...

Jodi Picoult (2006) The Tenth Circle

The cover asks ‘Your daughter says she was raped. But the man she’s accused was her boyfriend. WHAT WOULD YOU DO?’ My inevitable answer is DON’T READ THIS BOOK! The back pages tell me she is the UK’s number one fiction writer for woman. I thought it was Barbara Cartland, but there is a kind of glory in not knowing. I admit it. I’m a book snob. I’ve tried writing. I should know better. I give The Tenth Circle a few pages. They don’t really grab...

Celtic 0 – Barcelona 1

The Champions League is where Celtic want to be, whisper it need to be. With the crowd willing the team to go forward and win, the bunkum of them being the so called twelfth man is almost believable. Barcelona are better than Celtic, but that doesn’t always mean they’ll always win, as last year proved. Messi was out. Watching them struggle in other fixtures, most notably away to Bayern Munich, showed quite clearly that Barcelona are not the same...

Simon Schama The Story of the Jews BBC 2 9pm.

I’ve watched two the four programmes shown so far. The final episode concludes tonight. I’ll need to catch the other two episodes on BBC iPlayer and I’ll probably buy the book. TV, of course, is accused of a great dumbing down, but I’m pretty dumb and I like things to be explained to me in ways that I can understand. Schama gets excited by ideas and it’s infectious. He shows that it seems to be some kind of historical rule that everyone from the...

Doganasia

Max had stopped eating, not even tempted by strips of chicken. Sometimes he’d gulp down water, but walkies was a place he didn’t want to go. He was an old man that sometimes raised his head from his cushion in the corner of the kitchen and looked on. A smart dog than knew it was time to go. The vet was good with the old man. That’s their job. I counted fifteen pictures on the practice wall. It’s an industry. You hear the horror stories of dogs...

A Very British Murder BBC 4 9pm ‘A Taste of Blood’.

When I can’t really settle, read or write, I turn my brain off and watch TV. There’s not much difference between my recumbent brain and my active brain, but a good way of telling the difference, without fancy machinery, is for the latter, to check whether my eyes are open. I initially thought A Very British Murder was something to do with George Orwell’s short article of the same name. It might well be there are another four episodes. In this...

Daniel Handler (2002) the basic eight

The cover of this book reminds readers that Daniel Handler is the author of the Lemony Snicket series that’s why I gave it a chance. I’ve not read Lemony Snicket, but I did see a film starring Jim Carey playing a goofball Jim Carey character, which I quite liked. This I imagine is the jump to an adult version of children’s books. I got to page sixty of Flannery Culp’s diary. We immediately know she is in prison and she and her seven school...

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