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Archive Entries for September 2017

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Saturday September 30, 2017

Books in September

  • The Late Show by Michael Connelly
    BOM-TheLateShow.jpg Excellent new book with a new heroine in new territory. There is always great customer resistance to new things - and often a great temptation to respond to the new by comparing it unfavourably with the old. However I find that that Connelly - and other authors with long-standing links to a specific fictional creation - seem newly inspired in their writing when introducing new characters. A fresh approach leads to new plot possibilities and overall better writing. In fact, even with the familiar "old" characters, he has continually altered their personal and working circumstances in order to avoid any staleness in the writing.
    A great success here I believe and I'm looking forward to reading more about Detective Renée Ballard.

  • Black Widow by Christopher Brookmyre [read by Angus King and Scarlett Mack]
    BOM-BlackWidow.jpg This is another excellent Jack Parlabane story which is described as being: "unconventional in structure" (not so much), "deftly plotted" (definitely), and having a "surprise ending" (quite so - although I did realise quite early on that things might not be pointing exactly in the direction that one was meant to assume).
    When I chose it, I did not realise it was awarded crime novel of the year at the Theakston Old Peculier crime writing festival, but it is certainly a worthy winner.

  • Virtually Dead by Peter May [read by Paul Michael Garcia]
    BOM-VirtuallyDead.jpg A very interesting concept for a novel - set in a virtual reality world as well as real life. I do remember all the brouhaha some years ago around a virtual reality world with people were getting sucked in, spending all their time, and making lots of virtual, (and also real), money. This kind of thing was of little interest to me - passing fad I thought - or maybe I feared I would be one of those people disengaging with real life! Anyway, I imagined that Peter May had invented a fictional version of this in order to create his story - but now I find that it is exactly based in "Second Life" without pseudonyms or invention (although I hope and trust he invented all the scheming and criminal activity revealed in the plot).
    Now, having read about this virtual world on line, and having read the book, I am thinking May must have had lots of fun within Second Life doing his research.
    Great fun to read ( not to mention exciting).

  • The Girl Before by Rena Olsen [read by Brittany Pressley]
    BOM-TheGirlBefore1.jpg From the start I was gripped by this book, mainly because of the opening, which I initially (a few paragraphs in) thought must surely be set in a 3rd world country. However, nothing could have been further from the truth. I have seen varying reviews, many good but also criticism of the unbelievable naivety of the heroine or the general quality of writing. I think that shows a lack of imagination because the whole point of the book and writing style is to put you into the mindset of the narrator so that you get a glimmer of her restricted life and warped moral code. For me this was all pretty successful as there was a gradual shift in understanding of what this woman is and what she has been complicit in. In fact, if anything, I felt that the end game was rather less plausible than the story of the woman's life up to the point at which we join her story.
    There are a lot of "Girl" books around, including one with this same title, but unlike some of the others this one is actually more about a girl or girls rather than a woman.

  • Paul Temple and the Margo Mystery by Francis Durbridge BOM-PaulTempleMargoMystery.jpg
    Another intriguing case for BBC radio's smoothest investigator and his glamorous wife. This recording stars my favourites for the series: Peter Coke as Paul Temple and Marjorie Westbury as Steve.
    A dangerous web of lies and murder awaits the sleuth when his wife disappears. [Leaving behind just her coat with a mysterious label inside...].

Posted on September 30, 2017 at 8:59 AM. Category: Books of the Month.

Thursday September 28, 2017

Indian Summer


Looking beautiful in the autumn sunshine is my latest rose cutting, which took it into its head to bloom - I should have stopped it but it is so lovely. [I know the pot has a commercial growers label on it but I recycled it - honest..].
And below - we have one of the army of visitors that this year's excessively wet weather has produced. Between that and my personal herd of deer the pots really don't stand much of a chance.


Posted on September 28, 2017 at 3:03 PM. Category: The Garden.

Strictly Murder


Difficult to say much about this play without being overly critical - and all the other regional reviews for this tour seem to have been extremely positive. So focusing on the positive: the acting was strong, and (like many "thriller" plays) there was a lot of "business" which they dealt with very well. It had a good plot, set in the past, which as the author (Brian Clemens) said, was necessary for the plot line to work. So it made for a good evening out but not a stunningly fantastic evening out.
Booked only because it had "murder" in the title, I suppose my expectations should have matched my lack of research. Still not sure why this title though.

Posted on September 28, 2017 at 11:01 AM. Category: Art and Culture.

Saturday September 23, 2017

Le Grand Mort


I booked this show with completely neutral expectations as we were up in town for the day (lunch with school friends). And I thought it was totally brilliant. However not for the homophobic, or those with an aversion to the naked male form - nor for Daily Mail readers as the paper predictably gave it a searing review, (being ridiculously rude about Julian Clary, who carries much of the show with great skill in my opinion).
However to my surprise some of the other reviews were less than flattering which must be very disappointing for the cast, even though a lot of the negativity seems to be directed at the script.
Whatever - I thought it was brilliant - and Clary received substantial praise from other esteemed actors - so there we are. I hope we can look forward to his moving forward with his acting career well outside of panto in the future.

Posted on September 23, 2017 at 10:59 AM. Category: Art and Culture.

Wednesday September 6, 2017

Proms: Revolutionary Music


I took a notion to got to the Proms so Rob booked us seats in a box - a Grand Evening all round.

  • Igor Stravinsky - Funeral Song (12 mins)
  • Song of the Volga Boatmen (2 mins)
  • Sergei Prokofiev - Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major(22 mins)
  • Benjamin Britten - Russian Funeral(7 mins)
  • Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No 11 in G minor 'The Year 1905'(65 mins)

Alina Ibragimova joins Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a Russian themed programme. The Proms pays tribute to the centenary of the Russian Revolution with Prokofiev's lyrical First Violin Concerto, composed amid the growing turmoil of 1917. Shostakovich's Symphony No. 11 harks back to another crisis, the failed revolution of 1905; its brooding cinematic landscapes are punctuated by bright flecks of instrumental colour. The concert opens with Stravinsky's youthful Funeral Song, lost for over a century and given its first modern performance only last year.

Posted on September 6, 2017 at 11:28 PM. Category: Art and Culture.