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Archive Entries for January 2018

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Wednesday January 31, 2018

Books in January

  • Learning to Talk by Hilary Mantel [Read by Patrick Moy, Anna Bentinck, and Jane Collingwood] BOM-LearningToTalk.jpg
    A collection of autobiographically inspired short stories. Poignant and evocative tales of life in the 1950s and 60s.
    • King Billy is aGentleman
    • Curved is the Line of Beauty
    • Learning to Talk
    • Third Floor Rising
    • The Clean Slate

  • Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson [read by Diana Quick]BOM-BehindTheScenesAtTheMuseum.jpg
    Another wonderful chronicle of an extended family. It covers not only the main character's childhood era (1950s) but also the previous generations across two world wars.
    I was originally given her book of short stories, and due to the cover (!) thought she was a chick lit writer. Then I was introduced to her Jackson Brodie novels (and TV series) - and thought she was a crime writer.
    Now - I have thankfully stopped trying to pigeon-hole her and just see her as the excellent writer she undoubtedly is.

  • The Labyrinth of Osiris and The Lost Army of Cambyses by Paul Sussman
    [read by Gordon Griffin]
    BOM-TheLostArmyOfCambyses.jpg BOM-TheLabyrinthOfOsiris.jpg Quite by chance I listened to The Labyrinth of Osiris and was completely hooked. I thought I had found a great new author - only to discover the poor chap was the victim of an untimely death - so 3 books is it (actually there are a couple more but not in this "series").
    I have read them in exactly reverse order - and I think his style (as in: a writer of thrillers - Sussman was a journalist of some standing) improved over the 3 books.
    The books are variously described with comparisons to Dan Brown - which is frankly an insult but I guess gives you a flavour of the content. They are police procedurals set in present day Egypt and Israel but with (in truth unrealistic but made real) new archaeological finds based on references in ancient writings. Sussman has combined his love for archaeology with his day job and produced some great stories.
    Curses that there are no more.

Posted on January 31, 2018 at 4:11 PM. Category: Books of the Month. | Comments (0)

Sunday January 28, 2018



Alison and I had a day out at the Dulwich Picture Gallery to catch the final day of the Tove Jansson exhibition.
I saw a great documentary about TJ on BBC4 some time ago and it was wonderful the see the actual detailed artwork and working drawings for the sketches. And also of course I read all the books as a small child - which must have been only a short time after they were available in English translations. I read all that were in our local library which was probably only 4 or 5, but apparently there are 9.
Overall it was excellent - and the only minor disappointment was that all the beautiful tiny drawings which we imagined would transfer well to postcards were not available - all posters and prints sold out, unsurprisingly.

They have a really good cafe at the gallery (Dulwich is a very right-on place) where we had both elevenses and (later) a light lunch (despite being initially rather startled by the strength of the black tea).

The excitement of the day was rounded off by going to see The Last Jedi at Kingston Odeon. Nostalgia all round.

Posted on January 28, 2018 at 8:16 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Saturday January 13, 2018



This was a spontaneous booking at a very low price which tempted me - I wanted to see it for the inventive direction and puppetry - I had not checked but it is in fact a musical and did (to my delight) include the familiar songs I had hoped for - specifically "An Actors Life for Me" - and Mr Fox was also terrific. The seats were right at the front of the stalls - temporary seating I'm guessing - presumably thought to be not ideal with the way the production is staged (giant puppets) and hence they are offered at such bargain prices. However I absolutely love being close to the stage and enjoyed the whole thing very much.

Posted on January 13, 2018 at 9:13 AM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Saturday January 6, 2018



Always worth seeing the imaginative Matthew Bourne shows - this one had many plus points for originality, being set in WW2 and with not only a wicked step-mother and 2 ugly sisters but also 2 ugly brothers (one with a shoe fetish).
The only thing I was not so keen on was the fairy godfather. I liked the concept but his silver outfit/hair etc reminded me (being that old) too much of the ancient TV series UFO, and although he was a terrific dancer, I was not keen on the choreographic style he was given. In fact I found him rather sinister, but I am not sure how much that in itself was a detractor - maybe the opposite. I did like the implication at the end that he helped other down trodden maidens and not just Cinderella.

The truth is I was spoiled with Swan Lake all those years ago, and more recently with Edward Scissorhands and then the fantastic Carman. He set the bar very high.


Posted on January 6, 2018 at 9:15 AM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)