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Archive Entries for March 2013

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Sunday March 31, 2013

Books in March

  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs BOM-PeculiarChildren.jpg
    Well.... how peculiar is this.
    I guess it's as a fantasy novel, though this was not entirely clear to me at the outset - which I guess is to its credit. The author invents an "other" time-travelling world with its own set of rules and so on which makes me think this may be intended as the start of a series - especially how the book ends with the characters setting out on a "quest".
    We'll see.
    Anyway, the interest, or gimmick, in this book is that the author has a collection of interesting examples of weird and wonderful photos from the late 19th or early 20th century. He has used these with some lent by others, and written a story around them. The photos are interesting in their own right but the story would probably stand on its own too I think.
    Some of the pictures involve "trick" photography with (then) new techniques - like those that produced the infamous fairies at the bottom of the garden that fooled Conan Doyle. I can begin to see from this where this author's interests lie. On looking up his other work, I find that his apparently only other work is The Sherlock Holmes Handbook, which is (maybe) written by a (young) American, for (young) Americans eg was cocaine really legal back then? and why were the British so terrified of Australia? but it's an amusing tome that I had co-incidentally bought as a little gift for Tony last year - who likes all things Sherlock.

  • Last Ditch by Naio Marsh [read by James Saxon] BOM-LastDitch.jpg
    This is the twenty-ninth novel featuring Inspector Alleyn, and was first published in 1977. It's set in the Channel Islands, with Alleyn and Troy's (now adult) son, Ricky, in a central role; I enjoyed this a lot, having read some of the novels before Alleyn met Troy, during their early relationship, and one when Ricky was a small boy. Although Ricky is an impossibly decent fellow - just how you'd like your son to be - and though it's clear he respects his parents, they are very much his parents, and he has his own life private from them. His youth and freshness are well-conveyed along with his adolescent style crush on the sophisticated older woman and so on, while his Father offers an air of experience and solid support.

  • Clean Break by Val McDermid [Radio Play] BOM-CleanBreak.jpg
    A BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of a Kate Brannigan mystery starring Charlotte Coleman as the Manchester-based private eye.
    The plot? Thieves steal a Monet from a stately home where Kate had arranged the security. She sets off on a chase that takes her across Europe bringing her head to head with organised crime.
    Can't say I warmed to Kate very much.....

  • A Series of Murders by Simon Brett [Radio Play] BOM-ASeriesOfMurders.jpg
    Part of the Charles Paris series of novels, many of which seem to have been produced on BBC Radio 4 starring the delightful Bill Nighy as a very convincing Charles - just the right mix of likeable charm and weakness.
    Charles Paris has landed a nice juicy part playing Sergeant Collins in a TV detective series. Needless to say, a cast member is killed, and although it seems like an accident, Charles can't shake the suspicion that she was murdered. On top of all that he tries to stay away from booze and women, in order to get back together with his wife.
    I have often heard the odd episode of these series while driving, (they seem to be on mid-morning), so it was great to hear one all the way through.

Posted on March 31, 2013 at 3:04 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Saturday March 30, 2013

Snow in Summer

It's Easter Saturday in France.
I repeat EASTER Saturday,
and this is the scene that greeted me on awakening.
[OK I suppose technically it's Spring].

Posted on March 30, 2013 at 7:56 AM. Category: France.

Friday March 15, 2013

Gotta new motor?


So ..... some guy wantonly drove into the side of Rob's car - which was a bit of a blow as he was fond of it. The result being that the insurance company decided it was a write-off, which it may have been technically (ie the car was not worth more than the repair) but in reality only needed the passenger door replacing.
So ..... while they are busy sorting it all out, (I say "busy" but they are taking weeks), Rob has been driving around in this huge tank of a vehicle, which all-told has cost the insurance company as much to hire, as he is being compensated for the loss of his car.
I guess it's kind of fun.

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 10:48 PM. Category: Oddments and stray thoughts.

Saturday March 9, 2013

Designing in colour


Today was our Guild AGM and our speaker for the afternoon was Bobbie Kociejowski who is a fabulous weaver - above is some of her work - but today she talked to us about colour theory. As I understand more about colour, or perhaps more about combinations of colours, the more astonishing I find it - whether it's through a blending and dyeing practical workshop or Rob explaining to me about lighting design. It's because I just tend to take the colours around me for granted without really appreciating how extraordinary the concept is.
When, for example, Geordi La Forge - a fictional blind character from Startrek - explains how his (futuristic) visor is able to accurately interpret wavelengths of light and enable him to have "some kind of vision", it makes it sound like he has a more complex version of a stick to somehow feel his way around - when in fact he is really only describing how our eyes actually work.


At the end of the afternoon, we drew the raffle - we had so many contributions this year that I think everyone got a prize - mine being a wonderful wallflower - a wonderful deep red colour - very apt!


Posted on March 9, 2013 at 9:03 PM. Category: Art and Culture.

Tuesday March 5, 2013

Anais Mitchell at Cecil Sharp House

Rob got tickets for this event where Anaïs Mitchell was appearing with collaborator Jefferson Hamer. They have released a (short) CD* of a few of the ballads collected by Francis James Child in the late 19th century, and played the set here, along with some other tracks from Hadestown, and Young Man in America. Anaïs described the venue as the "perfect spiritual home" for the performance.
The song in the clip above has to be a favourite, though, as they joked, their first 3 numbers featured various "Willie"s - not the same character - which they referred to to as a Willogy. This one has a lovely sense of intimacy plus a happy ending.

They performed with their guitars amplified, but for their "encore", stepped off the stage "unplugged" with just voice and acoustic. Though I can't say if it would have been disappointing for those farther back in the audience, I thought it was just lovely. Their voices, harmonies and guitar were all perfectly balanced, and I would have been happy to hear all the numbers like that.

* At the end of the evening, they were selling the not only the CD but, interestingly, they have had some vinyl impressions made of the music..... I have never heard that before - must be a new nerdy interest group.

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 10:32 AM. Category: Art and Culture.