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Archive Entries for January 2019

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Thursday January 31, 2019

Books in January

  • Watchman by Ian Rankin [Read by Tom Cotcher]
    BOM-Watchman.jpg Miles is a spy who wants nothing more than a quiet life looking into other people's lives. He does not work in the field and doesn't want to. However, to redeem himself after a couple of spectacular failures, he is sent on a "simple mission" to Ireland; however, he finds himself set up as a bit of a patsy, which causes him to go on the run.
    This is one of Rankin's earliest works from 1988 which was re-released in 2004 with an introduction by Rankin discussing his early writing style. I think this stands up well and indeed it seems the only objection of more critical readers is the lack of Rebus.

  • The Killing Habit by Mark Billingham
    BOM-TheKillingHabit.jpg In line with Connelly and Rankin, Billingham (may I call you Mark?) has introduced us to a new character in the shape of Nicola Tanner. In the case of all authors, whose original detectives are true rule-breaking "characters", the brief for these newbies are that they be as different as possible from their previous creations* - and probably younger since these fictional detectives age with their authors (except notably VI and Kinsey Millhone). Naturally this results in some resistance from their diehard fans. So - in line with .... etc - in this book the laddish Thorne and the anal Tanner work together, which has the effect of complementing each other so that they appear to live in a more complete personality landscape.
    O - I almost forgot - the plot's good too. Starting with a (topical) spate of cat killings in London, which Thorne is disgusted at being roped in to investigate.
    [* Connelly is probably an exception here - he has created many memorable characters over the years and they have usually crossed paths with one another in various books - although when Bosch works with Haller, we get to see how fundamentally different they are.].

  • Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs [Read by Lorelei King]
    BOM-DeadlyDecisions.jpg This is the third Temperance Brennan book which was first published in 2000. The "theme" is outlaw bikers and gangs - and after bystanders are caught in crossfire Tempe joins a Special Operations Unit. As usual, there's a lot of forensic detail as well as the "skeleton found in the woods" which inevitably turns out to be related, and an annoying relative who gets sucked in.
    There is a fair degree of critical comment from readers, though on the whole I don't think they would have caused Reichs much angst - but it did make me laugh that some of it was complaining about how different this was from the TV series Bones, (which first aired in 2005 and I note is described as a comedy-drama), as if these were books based on the series.

  • JeremyClyde.jpg When In Rome
    Set in the 1970s, Ngaio Marsh's gentleman detective, Roderick Alleyn travels incognito among a group of tourists visiting Rome. He is on the trail of a drugs syndicate, but soon he is involved in blackmail and murder.
    Dramatised in 2003 by Michael Bakewell, and directed by Enyd Williams.
    I've been a fan of Jeremy Clyde since I first saw him in the 1980s in a stage production of Design for Living (with Maureen Lipman and Simon Jones), and I always look out for him in his too-many-to-mention character TV appearances.

  • TheGamesAfoot.jpg The Game's Afoot
    First broadcast in 2008, this was an absolute delight for me. Sherlock Holmes enthusiast, Nick Utechin chooses portrayals of Holmes on radio (if not a contradiction in terms) across the decades. This is 3 hours long, including some rarer recordings of Holmes and Watson in action:
    • The Adventure of the Speckled Band (17/05/1945)
      Stars Cedric Hardwicke and Finlay Curry
    • The Red-Headed League (19/10/1954)
      Stars Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud
    • The Boscombe Valley Mystery (12/12/1966)
      Carleton Hobbs and Norman Shelley
    • The Return of Sherlock Holmes: The Solitary Cyclist (17/03/1993)
      Stars Clive Merrison and Michael Williams
    • The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Abergavenny Murder (18/05/2004)
      Stars Clive Merrison and Andrew Sachs as Watson (both perfect)
      [These were new series adventures written by Bert Coules as a (very good) pastiche of Doyle's work; 16 episodes aired between 2002 and 2010. Each of the stories is based on a throwaway reference from an actual Doyle short story or novel. This programme includes an interview with Bert Coules]

Posted on January 31, 2019 at 12:22 AM. Category: Books of the Month. | Comments (0)

Thursday January 17, 2019

The Favourite


We went to see The Favourite - matinee at the Everyman. It's every bit as good as everyone said it was....
It's interesting that this takes the exact same subject matter (ie the relationship between Sarah Churchill and Queen Anne) as the play Queen Anne that Elaine and I saw at the Haymarket in 2017 - with a marked difference in tone and thus also popularity. The film is truly original and witty; it turns the potentially dry material into a comedy - albeit a very dark one.... faction... but at its best.

Posted on January 17, 2019 at 11:24 AM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Wednesday January 16, 2019

Stan and Ollie


George has booked us a double bill - today and tomorrow - of films at the local Everyman.
Today it's the film about the declining years of Laurel and Hardy when they were on their final tour which was in the UK in 1953. They continued the tour despite a hiatus due to Ollie's catastrophic heart attack (which occurred in Worthing no less - PR judging a beauty contest).
I cannot begin to complement the actors on their portrayals of the characters - admittedly they had a lot of footage to use as source material - but really they were brilliant. However, I think the most telling was a famous dance routine which the Reilly and Coogan performed immaculately - could not have been better - perfect. But when you see the originals perform together (and both versions are shown in the credits), they are just not quite perfectly in time - and yet at the same time - they are! It's very odd - like a couple of people wearing very comfortable old jackets, performing perfectly in time with the music and routine, and yet not quite taking the timing from each other.
I loved it - and Coogan is - as I may have mentioned before - a gem.

Posted on January 16, 2019 at 1:36 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)