Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Place

A place is my desk and at this desk this morning I am listening to Rufus Wainwright who is a divine singing angel man child.


His Hallelujah is right up there with Jeff Buckley's, another divine and in this case true angel, really did you have to go for that swim?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Booky Wook

My reading this week was Russell Brands My Booky Wook.

I love listening to Russell Brand speak, his big fat thick Essex accent combined with his I'm-a-bit-of-a-geezer-but-I-will-throw-something-really-smart-in-to-confuse-you is great to listen too.

But reading it is a bit rough. I think it is a bit soon for a book about his life. He has been through so much and he really does seem a changed man but he is only 34. It is a light read, with not always light content.

If you really love Russell you might want to read it, but I would say at this point, stick to his Ponderland and stand up, they are truly funny.


The Hangover

If you are looking for a bit of light fun for a very hot Sunday head to the video shop and get The Hangover. I giggled most of the way through and loved Allan. You'll get why when you watch it!

and now for a bit of Allen.........

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Under the Dome

Under the Dome by Stephen King is a fantastic epic.


It is as good a The Stand and for people who thought he was not as sharp as he used to be, it is totally on point. For the record I did not think he had lost it, I liked Cell and Duma Key.

Stephen King is a master at putting the whole world in a small town and he has done it here again. In the Dome a mysterious barrier appears over a small town in Maine and in following days we watch the good and bad unfold.

What I always enjoy in Stephen King books is that the baddies are baaaaaad. You can hate them at will. The weak make you aware of your back bone and question how firmly it is in place and the good make you want to be better.

In one or two well formed sentences he forms a firm character and even if they are fleeting in the book, they stay with you. You mourn the ones who go too quick and wish it weren't so.

At 877 pages I did not find it too long and my attention did not at any point wane.

Serious readers often dismiss Stephen King because of his subject matter. Snobs! What they are losing out on is, fantastical plots, memorable characters and some of the best sentences you will ever read.

Just because his subject matter is kooky at times does not ever take away from his true and shinning talent as a writer. I read once where he said that the book he did not do as well as he wanted was Needful Things, he was still drinking and taking drugs at the time. If Needful Things is a reflection of him not at his best, woe to the rest of us who put pen to paper.

He also writes relationships beautifully. He is a master of 'Phileo' or brotherly(sisterly) love. His friendships are tender in the most wonderful way. And he writes woman well, some many times a book can be ruined for me because of some glaring mistake a male writer makes when he is writing a woman. Stephen King never does that. He never underestimates us. Not for a our goodness and not in our ability to be bad.

If you like Stephen King get this book, get it at QDB where it is on sale. If you have not read any Stephen King get one and give him a go. I love this writer and I make no bones about been a fan, that does not mean I am indiscriminate in my love, I would not recommend Gerald's Game, but I have not given up on it, one day I will go back to it, I am sure, read it and enjoy it.

On a side track to Mr King and his new book, weird things happen when I read Stephen King.
Here is a little list of what has happened to me while reading his works.

The Shinning
While I was reading this one, during part of the book that talks about the time the main character and a friend think they have hit a bike rider while drink driving, my little red tricycle which I have from my childhood and was in the top of my cupboard fell out on too my bedroom floor, the book freaked me out so much that the book had to stay outside my bedroom door while I slept!

This one was great, firstly while I was reading the part about the bird watching gone wrong, I looked out my window and saw the most freaking weired bird ever. Never ever seen anything like it and thought IT was coming for me. I took a photo and showed a friend, thank goodness for Scientist, she explained that different birds could mate (explaining the very odd bird) and have off-spring but the off-spring would be like a mule and be barren, so no the IT was not coming for me!

Then whilst I was reading IT we moved house, the very first morning in our new home, I wake up to a lovely sunny morning, look out the window and see what looks like a yellow balloon with a smiley face on it!! PUKE! Then I calmed myself down, made myself go outside and have a look, the whole time waiting to be eaten by IT, and found out it was a yellow ball with a smiley face on it that the little boys from next door had lost over our fence.

While reading this one, not long after the radiation poisoning starts in the book and characters teeth start falling out, I had two teeth crumble and come out. This was because of a serious medication I was taking but it did freak me well out!

Under the Dome
This was great, I had just read about the falling stars in the book, then took my Dog outside for his evening "walk" and I look up and see a green streak in the sky and a massive falling star! It may not have been pink like in the book but it did give me goose bumps!

All of that will make sense when you read those books or if you have already done so.

Here is my last one to leave you with, after you have read Under the Dome you will need to ask yourself;

Are you are Friend of Dale Barbara?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reading new Stephen King book,
Can't talk reading!


Have read the book and will do the reveiw soon as time permits.

And yes you should read all 850 pages!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


A quick note on Moonstruck, I watched it again yesterday, it must have been about 10 years since I watched it, and goodness it is still a fantastic film!


If I could have, I would have taken Cher and Nicolas Cage straight from the film set to a giant freezer and put them in it to preserve them forever at their prime! They are both luminous in this film and I don't think I have ever seen them this glowing since!

If you see it at the Video Store and you need a lift get it out and enjoy it again or for the first time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Falling Angles

I reviewed Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier a few weeks ago and saw that there was only one of her books I had not read, so I ordered it at work and read it on the weekend.

Falling Angels opens with the death of Queen Victoria and with her death the end of the Victorian era. We meet two families, one family stalwarts of Victorian ideals and the others moving towards the modern ideas of Edwardian England.

We see friction arise from the ideas of changing times, movements to change laws and the breaking down of class ideas. The life of the two families cross and intersect over 10 years.

As I read this book I was constantly reminded of John Galsworthy's "The Forsyte Saga".


In fact it is like a mini version of that mammoth classic! And that is a compliment. In 401 pages Tracy Chevalier covers a similar time frame and ideas, that you read in the 3 books of 'The Forsyte Saga.

I was fascinated by the forms of Morning and rites of death that where in place during these times and are used as a metaphor in this book.


The dress that you can see from the above link is not a Morning Dress for the reasons below;

"The hemline is fully pleated and has a "kilting" of magenta pleated satin peeking out from under the black satin - which, according to the expert - proclaims that this gown could not, under any circumstances, be worn for mourning."


(above is a wonderful website and I can spend hours hours here just looking at the wonderful creations. As a side note, these dresses and all other "women's" craft over the millennium to me are amazing because they show what woman could do and what they where "allowed" to do to be creative. For every one Artemisia there must have been hundreds of women who could not have a creative outlet like that, but had to relye on dress making or cross stitch or tatting to express themselves.)


Sorry about that back to the book.

Falling Angles is a good read, in fact I would have liked it more if there was more to read! I found it just a teeny tiny bit to brief.

It also contains one of the most beautifully tragic lines I have ever read.

"Over his shoulder I saw a star fall. It was me."

Read that in context and tell me if you don't cry.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

SF Masterworks is a library of classic SiFi novels.


It is a great collection and I decide to start reading it with one of the all time classics Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

A lot of you will be familiar with it as the film Blade Runner.


There are always debates about book to movie translations. I know there are die hard SiFi fans out there who hate the movie Bladerunner. But after reading the book I feel it was done really well. There are some ideas in the book that just would not go over the movie. Ideas that are too big for movies. There is never enough time in a movie format to fully develop the mind bending soul enhancing ideas in SiFi.

I did not "enjoy" the book, but I did like it. It was not a light read and I did need to keep my mind on it. But I always love to read a version of our possible future. And for someone who has no interest what so ever in going to the Moon or Outerspace I love to read about what other people think it might be like.

It is a bleak, sad book. There seems no hope in this version of our future. Even the one moment of hope involving a toad, you will know it when you read it, is not what it seems. I do like a book to leave me with more then I had before, I was left with more ideas then before I read it but I did not feel enhanced.

This does not sound like a great-go-out-there-and-read-it-book-review, but it really is worth a read!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dear Mr Dunne

I found out today that one of my favorite writers died in August. I don't know how I missed it but I did and his passing has made me very sad.

Dominick Dunne is one of the writers I always wanted to write a letter to and ask him what else he knew. He was a Hollywood insider who knew everyone and everything. He started out in TV and sort of landed in writing.

I first found him in Vanity Fair magazine when I was 14. I was obsessed with the Menendez Brothers trail.
I was struck by the fact that he was totally biased. Journalism is meant to be cool and level headed. He was not, he was passionate about the victims and seeing justice done for them.

The more I found out about him the more I felt for him. He lost his own daughter to violent crime and since then was focused on victim rights. He was not always popular with people and if he was not so old and if he had not been battling cancer for years I would have thought the Kennedy's did it!

I always thought about sending him a letter or email. In my head I always started the letter with, Dear Mr Dunne.

Now I won't ever have a chance to.

about his daughter

about him

his obituary in Vanity Fair

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

If you can't say anything nice.......

I watched Troy today and I was not overwhelmed. It really was not a great film, which is a shame as there where some really wonderful elements to this movie.

Firstly the costumes and sets where beautiful. Visually it was grand, as a sandal and sword movie should be. And the cast where all gorgeous. The beautiful woman where overshadowed by the beautiful men! The villains are beautifully, brutally ugly as they should be and the Heroes are divine.

Peter O'Toole was noble as the soon to be defeated King. You know, this whole movie is worth it if we just get to see Peter O'Toole in action. By his still majestic bearing you are reminded that he is an actor from a time when actors where still "trained". Every hand movement, breath, and action has a purpose behind it.

I wonder if I did not get into this movie because of Helen and Paris. I could not stand these two and they are only topped on my selfish aggravating list by the surly Heathcliff and Cathy. What weak people Helen and Paris are. Why do these two get to have their love at the expense of the noble Hector?

So if you are looking for something to "look" at and not over tax your brain, you could do worse. It is not a bad film, more a film that is lacking. It should have been better.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Remaekable Creatures Indeed

I just finished Tracy Chevaliers new book Remarkable Creatures.

I have really enjoyed Tracy Chevaliers books in the past. I have read four of her other books, Girl with the Pearl Earring and The Lady and the Unicorn where for me the stand outs.

As a mad history buff I loved that life in the past was not sanitized in her books. The people are dirty by our standards, baths are not an every day right and the description of smell is a character in itself.

In both books the female characters make choices that made me want to stand up and cheer for them. They had such limited lives then and Tracy Chevaliers respects that and lets them make of their lives what they can.

I was all ready to like this new book and I did. I was inclined to like it very early on when Elizabeth Philpot one of our 'Remarkable Creatures' observers "Frances has been the only Philpot sister to marry, and she leads with her bosom - which I suppose explains that".

Elizabeth Philpot and Mary Anning are fossil hunters. But they are woman so they can not write papers for the scientific journals or even go to the Geographical Society when their specimens where been shown. It is 1804 England and respectable woman can not go to the shops by themselves without incurring sensor or a threat to their reputation.

So when I hear about these remarkable woman who lead such free lives I am moved. What they must have given up and endured to live an authentic life is beyond our modern Western comprehension.

Not only where they breaking the rules along gender lines, they where questioning the very ideas of life itself. Again in this day and age we can not know how dangerous the fossils they uncovered where to the established ideas of life. According to Western thinking of the day the earth was 6 thousand years old and the idea of extinction in the animal world called into question God and the Church.

People where so fearful of these creatures that where found in the earth that sometimes they where destroyed. They provoked real fear into everyday life for people. Charles Darwin and the others who changed our world then where vilified and treated as crackpots.

Elizabeth and Mary where real woman and this book is a respecful fictionalized re telling of their life and times. At the end of the book there is a reading list that will tell you more about them if you, as I am, are interested in knowing more. Or as we can now google them.