celticman's blog

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...

Remember Me (2010) directed by Allan Coulter; written by Will Fetters.

Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattison) and Ally Craig (Emilie de Ravin) get togehter for all the wrong reasons but turn out to the be the right reasons. It starts literally with a bang. Ally's mum is shot in a subway mugging, whilst she looks on. Ally's dad (Chris Cooper) by one of those film script quirks is a cop that pulls back the sheet on his wife's body. Flash forward ten years. Tyler is the kind of guy that kicks his latest conquest out of bed...

Isaac Newton: The Last Magician, BBC 2, 9pm.

There was no calculus which, for me, was magical enough. Newton did not study mathematics or science, but natural philosophy. What was natural for him, was unnatural for me, although to be fair I did get a C grade at arithmetic. Using those well know variables of time, speed and motion Newton worked out how the planets moved, how gravity worked and how an apple fell from a tree. This was a ha-ha moment, because, of course, he wasn't sitting...

The King’s Speech (2010) channel 4, 9pm

Directed by Tom Hooper and an Oscar winning screenplay by David Seidler this is a story about a man that stammers and how he was ‘cured’ by the unorthodox Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush. I won’t be given too much away if I tell you that the chronic stammerer in question played by Colin Firth goes on to become King George VI. His father’s death and his brother’s marriage to Wallis Simpson puts him on the throne...

Winter Bone (2010) BBC 2 10.45pm

Winter's Bone based an adaptation of Daniel Woodrell's 2006 novel of the same name. I had to look that bit up on the internet. Quite simply the film has pushed to the top of my must read books. Of course I’ve got must read books and must, must read books and books I’m ashamed I’ve not read (most nineteen century novels). Written and directed by Debra Granik, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence as a seventeen-year-old Ree Dolly Jessup, in the rural...

Ralph Glasser (1986) Growing up in The Gorbals.

I gave up on Scotland. I’m as patriotic as the next man, but I could only watch a bit of their game against Serbia. It was 0-0 at half time. We’ll lose. We always do. Growing up in the Gorbals is one of my favourite books. It’s a coming of age drama set in a period when even the plague rats demanded new housing. Glasser is Jewish and an outsider. Kids don’t know whether to batter him for being a Proddy or a Catholic, or just leave him alone. The...

Pages