Media Monday

I know, I'm rubbish at this. LJ has fallen by the wayside rather, due to general lack of time. I can just about keep up with DreamWidth, but never seem to manage to post anything! Not that there's anything interesting to post.

Currently re-reading Brideshead Revisited, after I saw a picture somewhere of Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews with Aloysius the teddy bear. I realised it had been twenty years since I last read it, so I dug out a dog-eared old copy that I had in a cardboard box in the attic (where most of my books live now, due to lack of space). I'm never sure entirely how I feel about Evelyn Waugh - lost_spook recently referred to him as cynical, which is rather apt - but I do like Brideshead Revisited quite particularly. I last read it in the spring of 1997, around the time that I took my finals, when I had very little else to do for a while, but sprawl in the sun in the university gardens, reading books that I probably wouldn't have read otherwise. Given that the university was a long re-purposed stately home, a story set in the era of crumbling aristocracy, and the selling-off of old family mansions, was somewhat appropriate. And in fairness, it's about a bisexual man in a very open love triangle with a brother and sister, so it's quite modern too. And the language is very evocative, even if some of the paragraphs do go on for decades. Even more so than this one.

Prior to that I read a terrific book, which I think plenty of you would enjoy. It's called West With The Night, by Beryl Markham, and it's sort of an autobiography. Beryl Markham was the first female bush pilot, and spent a lot of time hurtling about the skies above Africa, being remarkable, and thinking herself perfectly ordinary. And the writing is just astounding. Utterly beautiful and compelling. Apparently everybody has always said that her husband wrote it really, but her biographer can find no evidence that he did, and plenty that he didn't. But everybody still believes it anyway. It's not a big book, and it's out of print, but I happened to find mention of it in some article somewhere, and went a-hunting on eBay, and it wasn't hard to find. Highly recommended (and I think she wrote it).

Watching wise, I've not done much. The BBC was very kind to me, and released Out Of The Blue on DVD. This was a police drama broadcast in the early nineties, which starred John Hannah and Neil Dudgeon, and which nobody but me seems to have seen. Consequently I've been variously accused of madness and imagining. But now it's out on DVD! Proof! And it's still jolly good. The Beeb have also put out another of their old police dramas; Rockliffe's Babies from the mid-eighties, which they've never repeated, and which has trickled away into the darkest recesses of most people's memories. It's about a group of young detectives, under the care of a grizzled old sergeant, and it's rather good (and very eighties). It was my first "grown up" series, watched in secret on a Friday night, when everybody else was out, and my mother was relaxing in the kitchen, off duty. Holds up well. Horribly expensive, but somebody has thoughtfully put it on YouTube. Shut up, yes I know, but I will buy it eventually. Tony Head was just in an episode, and Brian Croucher has just joined as the new boss. Fandoms of the world, collide!

Oh, and I've also just read a beautiful little book called Now We Are Six Hundred, by James Goss, which is basically Now We Are Six, rewritten for Time Lords. You'd think the joke would wear thin, but it never does. It's illustrated rather wonderfully by Russell T Davies, and is full of rhymes about Daleks and Cybermen and Romana. Some of it is very sweet, some of it is very funny, and one or two of the poems are really quite dark. Another one for the recommended list! (And the postscript is fab.)

So there you are. See you again next year. ;)

Media Monday

I don't think I've done one of these in a while. I don't seem to have done much of anything in a while, except race about the countryside in a whirl, attempting to Get Things Done. Still, on the plus side, one of the Things to get Done is the allotment, which has just started to produce profusions of runner beans, courgettes (bright yellow ones this year!) and raspberries. So I'm tired, but also well fed.

Anyways, I'm reading an especially good book at the moment. I don't really know what it's about, although I'm more than three quarters through - or, that is, I have absolutely no idea where it's heading, or why, but I do sort of know what it's about. Something Awful just happened, and I'm frightfully annoyed, but still loving the book, and looking forward to getting back to it. Seriously, the prose is an utter joy. It's called Golden Hill, and it's by somebody called Francis Spufford. It's about a young man who arrives in 18th century New York, and it's entirely written in 18th century style - so it's a sort of pastiche, in the same way that Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is, although set rather earlier. Apparently it won the Ondaatje prize (I don't believe I've ever heard of that, but Google tells me its quite prestigious). I recommend it unhesitatingly, if you are not scared off by meandering prose, and sentences that can go on for months.

Telly-watching-wise, I've now seen the first episode of Marchlands, so can claim to have actually seen our new Doctor in something. It's an ITV drama from a few years back, set in three different time zones (the 1960s, the 1980s, and whenever now was at the time). A young girl dies in the sixties, and her ghost makes friends with another young girl in the eighties. It clearly has some knock-on effect for the modern lot, but I haven't found out what yet. That will presumably come later. Jodie Whittaker is the dead girl's mother, and has dark hair, so I didn't recognise her at first. A Yorkshire accent - I wonder if she will keep that. So far it's diverting enough. If you're in the UK, she'll be on the BBC from August 8th, incidentally, in a new series. Trailer here. It also stars Emun Elliot who - after the eternal Paterson Joseph, naturally - was my first choice for the 13th Doctor, so I can amuse myself watching them both being doctors together. If I remember to watch it. Eagle-eyed viewers will of course recognise him from Paradox, The Paradise, and Los Malvados (cough).

There are probably other things, but I do not remember them. So I may just go and collapse in a heap. Albeit a slightly satisfied and accomplished-feeling one. With a nice book.
queen sha

Music meme day thirteen

Day Thirteen: A favourite song from the seventies.

Any favourite song of mine from the seventies is going to be by Queen or Bruce Springsteen, so let's just take that as read, and go for something that I haven't already waxed lyrical about on a previous occasion. This song is from 1970, which I know some people would count as part of the sixties - but hard luck, as it looks like the seventies to me. Also, I love this song.


As a fun bonus, since Paul Rodgers toured a fair bit with Queen in the first decade of this century, they sang this one together quite often. I always did get a kick out of that!

adam ant

Music meme day twelve

Day Twelve: A song from your pre-teen years.

But all my songs so far have been from my pre-teen years! Or nearly all. I think. I'm being lazy and not checking, but it's a fair assumption. Still, taken literally this one does require something from my lifetime, so we're going for something between 1975 and the beginning of 1988. In which case I choose this:


- and my apologies that the official upload has rubbish sound quality! Somebody's over done the bass. Adam, however, is not to be discouraged.

That is still the best jacket in pop music.

In other news, I have found out that this is a thing: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1405930055/

Look at it, and marvel at its wonder. And there's a whole series of them! Up to and including Peter Capaldi. Of course they might be awful, but their mere existence has made me smile, so that's good.
sleepy hollow

Book meme

Memed from here and there. Bold those that apply.

1. You currently own more than 20 books.
2. You currently own more than 50 books.
3. You currently own more than 100 books.
4. You amassed so many books you switched to an e-reader.
5. You read so much you have a ton of books AND an e-reader.

6. You have a book-organization system no one else understands. (It's not so much "organisation", as "any which way that will make them fit in the shelves".)
7. You’re currently reading more than one book.
8. You read every single day.
9. You’re reading a book right now, as you’re taking this book nerd quiz.
10. Your essentials for leaving the house: wallet, phone, keys, and a book.
11. You’ve pulled an all-nighter reading a book.
12. You did not regret it for a second and would do it again.
13. You’ve figured out how to incorporate books into your workout.

14. You’ve declined invitations to social activities in order to stay home and read. (Social activities? What are they?)
15. You view vacation time as “catch up on reading” time.
16. You’ve sat in a bathtub full of tepid water with prune-y skin because you were engrossed in a book. (Noooo! Do not bath with books! It spoils them!)
17. You’ve missed your stop on the bus or the train because you were engrossed in a book.
18. You’ve almost tripped over a pothole, sat on a bench with wet paint, walked into a telephone pole, or narrowly avoided other calamities because you were engrossed in a book.
19. You’ve laughed out loud in public while reading a book.

20. You’ve cried in public while reading a book.
21. You’re the one everyone goes to for book recommendations.
22. You take your role in recommending books very seriously and worry about what books your friends would enjoy.

23. Once you recommend a book to a friend, you keep bugging them about it.
24. If your friend doesn’t like the book you recommended, you’re heartbroken.
25. And you judge them. A little bit.
26. In fact, whenever you and a friend disagree about a book you secretly wonder what is wrong with them.
27. You’ve vowed to convert a nonreader into a reader.
28. And you’ve succeeded.
29. You’ve attended book readings, launches, and signings.
30. You own several signed books.
31. You would recognize your favorite authors on the street. (Some of. A fair few are dead, which arguably could make them easier, or harder, to identify.)
32. In fact, you have.
33. If you could have dinner with anybody in the world, you’d choose your favorite writer.
34. You own a first-edition book.
35. You know what that is and why it matters to bibliophiles.

36. You tweet, post, blog, or talk about books every day.
37. You have a “favorite” literary prize.
38. And you read the winners of that prize every year.
39. You’ve recorded every book you’ve ever read and what you thought of it.
40. You have a designated reading nook in your home.
41. You have a literary-themed T-shirt, bag, tattoo, or item of home décor.
42. You gave your pet a literary name. (I didn't, but my parents did.)
43. You make literary references and puns nobody else understands.
44. You’re a stickler for spelling and grammar, even when you’re just texting.
(I don't text. But if I did, I would be a texting pedant.)
45. You’ve given books as gifts for every occasion: birthdays, Valentine’s Day, graduations, Tuesdays...
46. Whenever someone asks what your favorite book is, your brain goes into overdrive and you can’t choose just one. You end up naming twelve books.
47. You love the smell of books.

48. You’ve binge-read an entire series or an author’s whole oeuvre in just a few days.
49. You’ve actually felt your heart rate go up while reading an incredible book.
50. When you turn the last page of a good book, you feel as if you’ve finally come up for air and returned from a great adventure.
queen sha

Music meme day ten

Day Ten: A song that makes you sad.


Queen again, leaping from happy to sad. This is the last song that Freddie recorded; and in fact he was unable to finish it. He had hoped to, but in the event he was never able to go back to the studio. It's not all sad, exactly. I think it's what it represents that does it for me - and then, at the end, when Brian has to sing the final verse, followed by that whistlestop tour backwards through Freddie's life. Brief clips of the glory days at Wembley Stadium, a montage of Queen songs, and then the first song that he ever recorded, back in 1972.

Somehow it never ceases to sound sad.