Filed under: Arts, books, dad, family, football, golf, humour, life, Restaurant reviews, Scotland, sports | Tags: 2007, 2008, best of 2007, remeniscences
As I head off to enjoy, with a heavy cold, the Hogmanay celebrations it’s time to bring the 2007 blog to an end.
Looking back on the year one thing will rise above all other memories of 2007, the passing away of my father.
A great man who had a great send off.
Saturday past was a poignant ending to the year as we committed his ashes and closed a half open door. My Mum, all of my sisters, Jeana, Denny and James were there at a simple ceremony that was just right.
I have said much on this subject , but it can be summed up here.
The Hibees winning their first cup in 16 years was a great highlight too, but slightly marred by the aftermath and then JC’s ‘walking on water’ turning into ‘JC plays Judas’ in December.
Shame on you JC.
A full year of working for myself was very rewarding and proved I can bring the family up at the same time. That meant a lot to me.
As did my 78 on The Queens Course in November and my 78 at Ratho in August, my first ever single-figure-above-par golf round.
Amy’s Standard Grade results were outstanding and made both Jeana and I very proud, as did Tom with his pre-eminence on the golf course and Ria’s determination on the Gymnastics floor. She finally achieved that elusive bridged kick-over during the summer but was once again thwarted in her chase for a merit at her cnmpetition in November because the judges raised the bar and docked her points because her cuffs were too long.
It will happen.
Jeana’s contribution to a beautiful; Queensferry and her ability to manage the Queensferry’s non-gardening population in a rendition of Strictly Come Cat Herding was worthy of merit.
In books Joshua Ferris’, Then we came to the end was my new book of the year.
In music it had to be Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand.
And my movie of the year? A tough one, but I’ll plump for Control, just edging out Atonement.
TV show of the year? UI’m tempted to go for The Secret Millionaire but the one that inspired me most was the Genius of Photography.
The greatest thing that happened to me technologically was the discovery of Flickr and the amazing avenues it opened for me.
Gig of the year was a close call between midlake at the ABC in Glasgow and Candie Payne at Cabaret Voltaire. But I have to give it to midlake because they are the greatest band on earth right now (including Arcade Fire) and I saw them.
Ridiculous decision of the year undoubtedly goes top The Nobel Prize Jury who gave Al Gore the Peace Prize. Why? Great guy, great politics, great movie. Peace prize? Get real.
But awarding that free kick to Italy in the 90th minute runs it close. But that’s not just ridiculous. That’s corruption.
And my man of 2007, for several reasons, was Mike Donoghue.
Restaurant of the Year was, no question, Kismot.
Best day out was, ironically in a way because it was set amongst so much sorrow, the day Jeana and I walked to Cramond Island in a post-funeral state of exhaustion, shock and trauma to return, in a way spiritually refreshed, and to be met by Tony Delicata’s offer of a free lunch at The Cramond Brig.
Tony. That hit the spot.
Performance of the year went to my sister Jane for her rumbustious rendition of A Fairy Tale of New York at the FAT Christmas show.
Twats of the year? Mondial Insurance. Get it up Ya.
Muppets of the Year. Sky. Get it up ya. (But at least we’ve had a laugh at their expense.)
Wife of the year? Jeana Gorman.
Put it this way. I couldn’t live with me.
And so to 2008.
Terry makes a full recovery.
Terry and I share school barbie duties at St Margarets in June.
Hibees remember they are a football team now that they are a succesful business. You’re not in the dock yet Mr Petrie but there will come a point after you’ve coined in another few million in January when enough is enough. (Oh yes, and we win the Scottish Cup, but even before it starts I’m putting that one on hold for 2009.)
Tom gets down to a 14 handicap.
Tiger Woods wins the Grand Slam (I don’t care I love Tiger Woods) but Scotland also find a golfer (Mark Warren looks the only real contender.)
I win something, anything, at Dundas Park.
PT Anderson wins Best Director at The Oscars.
Amy skooshes her highers.
Ria gets a merit at Gymnastics.
Jeana realises her potential. (Or at least realises she’s realised it!)
My mum and Emily have a fantastic time in China.
Carlisle Utd get promoted to the Championship.
Boris the Spider returns to the racetrack.
I am healthy throughout.
Filed under: books
I can’t do a top ten of books of the year. I haven’t read that many so it wouldn’t be a very good list. I got off to quite a slow start and then seem to have stuck to the same authors. I’ve decided instead just to let you know what books I have read and what I thought of them. No great analysis though I’m afraid I either like the book or I don’t. (I’ve realised I’ve actually read quite a few so these are the ones that are top of mind.)
FEAR by Jeff Abbott
I read PANIC last year and thoroughly enjoyed it . However, FEAR is much of the same and although the pace is fast you’re left thinking so what.
A Short HIstory of Tractors in UKRAINIAN by Marina Lewycka
I read this on Mark’s recommendation. He said it was hilarious. I’ve never read anything so sick and sad in my life. The poor man’s (he’s 84) wife dies and he subsequently falls in love with a glamourous blonde Ukrainian divorcee (she’s 36). They move in together and she proceeds to abuse him and he ends up locking himself in his room in fear. Mark said it was hilarious. I couldn’t see the funny side and couldn’t wait to finish the book for all the wrong reasons.
The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld
Freud and Jung come to New York and get embroiled investigating a murder. As you do. Once I got my head round the idea the book iimproved but I still felt it was trying too hard or I was missing the point.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
I recommended this to Amy during the Summer. She was looking for something to analyse for English. An excellent book. I re-read it. Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor in chief of French Elle, has a massive stroke and can only communicate by blinking one eye. The book has been “dictated” to his PA by blinking. I originally read it after coming home at midnight after, I think, Gerry Farrel’s 40th. Picked the book up with my cup of tea and as Mark walked in about 3.00 am I told him not to speak to me as I was finishing the last couple of pages. What can I say, go out and buy it. I picked it up for £3.67 in Tesco.
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
I enjoyed this but it was a bit slow. One of those books you feel it’s taking ages to get into and just as you have, it’s finished. I know Ian and Mark really enjoyed it and I read it on their recommendation. But all in all a bit slow.
Things my mother never told me by Blake Morrison
A great read. I enjoyed reading all about his family life and to “hear” it from a different point of view.
I had read And did you last see your father? years ago.
I remembered he was the man in charge of the household and what he said went. A generation thing I think, we’ve all been there in some form or another.
It was great to hear the story from his mother’s point of view. How lives end up the way they do, how we accept the way things are done. I went back and re-read And when did you last see your father? straight after. I don’t fancy the film though it looks a bit sentimental which neither book was.
For one more day by Mitch Albom
I went onto Google to check if the man has some sort of obsession about the afterlife but couldn’t find anything. Does anyone know?
I then read tuesdays with Morrie.
Loved it. Didn’t put it down until it was finished. Just buy a copy and read it. In fact buy all three, they’re well worth it.
A Thousand Splended Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Loved this. What a life these Afghnistani women have. To read about their lives and the horrors they have to endure. Excellent. If you want to read a book read this.
Then follow it with The Kite Runner if you haven’t read it already.
Filed under: books, life, music | Tags: biography, john peel, the peel sessions
The Peel Sessions
This is not literary genius, far from it. Most would argue that it is an anorak’s notebook and that would be very close to the truth. But, you know what. It’s great. It proves that Peel, and his army of producers, most notably John Walters, were demi-gods and men of much greatness that transformed the lives of the bands they broke and their many dedicated listeners (self included).
It’s also a cornucopia of facts. The headliner being. Which band did the most Peel Sessions? The answer is, of course, The Fall with 24.
He liked them then…
Truly the world is depleted without him.
Filed under: Arts, books | Tags: 2007, Ambrose Bierce, Ben McIntyre, best of 2007, biography, books of 2007, books of the year, god, Ian Mcewan, Jeffery Eugenides, Joshua Ferris, Laurence Rees, lierature, Margaret Atwood, novels, Richard Dawkins, sports books
It was a slow year for me. I can’t have read more than a dozen books in all, but very few duffers came my way, indeed I think the Mrs may have out-read me and will no doubt post her own best-of by close of play today.
However many of the best books I read were recommended by Ian Dommett, so he goes to the top of my critics list.
In no particular order my favourite reads of the year were.
The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood.
In truth this probably wins by a nose. The fact that it was written in 1985 is a strength as it shows off her perceptiveness even better than if one read it at the time of its release. Is it her best book? Hard to say as she is such a brilliant writer, but it certainly sits alongside Oryx and Crake, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace and he Blind Assassin. All magnificent.
You’ll find my full review here if you are interested.
Then We came to The End by Joshua Ferris
I predict this will be a monster in paperback. It’s been on many year end lists this year and so should get the reviews it deserves when it comes out in PB in 2008. I think it’s slated for a movie too, although the mystery that is implicit in its writing will probably be diluted on screen. I reviewed it here.
The Damned Utd byDavid Peace
My all time favourite sports book. It’s a novel but reads like a Biography od Brian Clough in his 43 days as manager of Leeds Utd. Not a happy experience. It is frightening how out of control Cloughie was. So good was it that I asked for, and recieved, “provided you don’t Kiss me, 20 Years with Brian Clough” for my Christmas. I’m really looking forward to that. Anyway I reviewed David Peace here. Highly recommended.
An Occurance at Owl Creek by Ambrose Bierce
It’s just a short story but it’s packed with drama and a brilliant twist. Read more here.
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides
I was blown away by this. Far superior (aren’t they all) to the movie; it gets right under your skin in a very odd way. But he’s a very odd writer. My mother read this and his other masterpiece, Middlesex, on my recommendation and loved both of them. More here.
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
This is an interesting but overwritten and ultimately pompous diatribe against the existence of God. Nevertheless, until he starts getting overly political about it all it is a very interesting essay and worthy of reading for anyone who has any interest in the existence of god(s). Read more here.
Auchwitz by Laurence Rees
I was gripped by this book and I also liked the BBC Drama later in the year that depicted the liberation of Auchwitz. Not by the same writer.
It’s a detailed account of the concept behind Auchwitz and throws the net of Nazi guilt far wider than Hitler. Well written and absorbing it is, despite its gruesome content, a compelling read.
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
Great, but not his greatest. I wrote an overly glowing review of this on completion, but, in hindsight, it’s a bit style over content. Still beats most of the muck that gets published though.
Agent Zig Zag by Ben Macintyre
If this was a novel it would be rejected on grounds of ludicracy. It is in fact, the true life account of an English Double agent who crossed sides more often than Michael Stewart. It’s real boys own stuff and a splendid read. What ho!
Filed under: life, movies, photography, politics | Tags: America, American tourism, Barf, God Bless america, tourism, usa
I was sent this link by my distant relatives in California.
I’m sorry Pat, but it makes me glad to be Scottish/European. Hell, even British.
The Americans sure know how to make someone gag. And this is the proof.
Oh lordy, lordy.
Despite feeling like death warmed up – terrible cold – I went out for my last golf match of the year with my five Arran Golf mates, my 13 year old son, Tom and my brother in law, Alan.
Having the cold is a life-threatener for us men as the hilarious link in James’ comment, below, points out so I think I deserve some form of recognition. A CBE perhaps, for services to golf?
Needless to say Tom finished the year the way he started, playing the boys for the first time he whipped their/my asses, scoring a 5 under par nett 65 at Dundas. Ian shot a level par 70 and Vince and I scrambled home in net 71′s. The rest were trailing in our wakes.
But it was Tom who set the bar so high that no one could get over it, coming home 4 under par (net) for the last 5 holes.
I predict, if he keeps playing next year,that come the end of 2008 he will be off 14 or less.
This time last year, when he was off 28, I predicted he’d get to 20.
I wasn’t far away.
Filed under: Arts, life, music, Scotland, stories | Tags: Brain haemmorage, Edwynn Collins, Orange juice
The BBC Scotland Documentary tonight on the return from, almost literally, the dead by Edwyn Collins to record a live BBC gig was nothing short of amazing.
With the unstinting support of his wonderful wife Grace, he had undergone intensive physio and speech therapy over a three year period since suffering a double Brain Haemmorage and despite losing the ability to speak, read, sing (of course) and walk with huge spasticism down his right side he sat on that stage at the Electric Ballroom in Camden like the star he truly is.
For thirty years I have been a fan of, first, Orange Juice and, then, Edwyn’s solo work. This proved how great a contemporary talent he is.
I have a close friend who has been through a similar experience so I know first hand how great his, and my pal’s, progress is and how hard it is to achieve.
Roll on Edwyn’s next number one and thank you BBC for such a great programme.
Filed under: life, Scotland | Tags: charity, Edinburgh Hogmanay, Fund raising, Maggies Centre, Ne'er day, New Year's Day, south queensferry, sponsorship, swim in the forth, the loony dook
Thanks to all of you who are sponsoring me for Maggies Centre. I’m up to £777 and the pledges keep rolling in.
Filed under: humour, jokes, life, tv, videos | Tags: human tetris, japanese game show
…says you’ve probably seen this wedding dance. If not, it’s a peach.
Diarrhea rap to teach the Japanese English. Nice…
Filed under: family
Have a peaceful and happy day.
All our best
Filed under: family, humour, life, Scotland, sports, stories | Tags: Alaska, Boca Raton, cancer care, cancer help, charity, charity fund raising, christmas, donations to charity, events in scotland, fundraising, maggies centres, south queensferry, the loony dook, weather
Many of you will be aware of the unique, and I mean unique, event that is “The Loony Dook”.
Here’s a picture of it from the past.
First off, it is probably the least PC event held this, or any other, year and will no doubt at some point in the future be renamed “The not overly sensible swim.”
And that would be fine if that was what it was called, because that is what it is.
It is the coming together of several hundred people, on the morning of January 1st , at 11.30 am to swim in the River Forth at South Queensferry.
For the record, here is the weather forecast for the next five days to show you just what we are letting ourselves in for.
Of course, it might get warmer, it might get cooler. One thing is for sure. It ain’t gonna be Boca Raton!
And where do you, dear reader, come in?
The answer is simple.
My dear mate Terry Bryant had a nasty dust with cancer for a great deal of this year and decided he should bring some of his mates to their aid in terms of fundraising to support the respite centre, The Maggie’s Centres, who came to his aid when he needed them.
So, I am to bare my chest, my arse and my fortitude to the freezing Scottish winter so that you lot can have a laugh at my expense and Terry can help out Maggies.
Do me a favour.
If you’ve enjoyed even a moment of my ridiculous waffling on gibberish this year, post a comment committing to sponsor me in my moment of madness; sorry, non-conformism.
If not, have a happy Christmas all the same.
PS If, you’r reading this on your return to work after the New Year and you wished you could have helped. It’s not too late. I’ll be posting the evidence of my participation on this blog so you can be sure I delivered and I’ll happily accept sponsorship post event!.
Filed under: humour, life, motors, photography, Rants | Tags: cycling, cyclists
Accept? Except? Are cyclists sooo bad?
I think I have to disagree…
Ok, maybe it’s irony.
I think not…
Filed under: advertising, Arts, humour, independence, jokes, life, photography, politics, Scotland | Tags: anarchy, bill posting, disestablishment, flyposting
This is so disestablishment. The best bill posting in Edinburgh?
Filed under: advertising, life, stories | Tags: 60 watt, christmas, parties, party season, xmas
Sorry folks I’ve been busy partying.
Last Friday I played poker so went with my poker face on.
Last week I was at the Edinburgh Leisure bash. I copied Pete’s “sticking beer caps on your head” trick.
But he’s much better at it.
And he’s even better at the Spock trick…
Tuesday was the SEX Party (Self Employed Xmas). We got the papparazi along.
Last night was 60 Watt’s do.
I work with these people!
But I was still thinking Hard.
Is it any wonder I’m cream crackered?
I have just watched Children of Men which blew me away. Given that I’ve just finished reading The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood the two seem almost like companion pieces. I am fairly ambivalent about Clive Owen although he is excellent in Closer but this film does his credibility no harm whatsover as he is a hugely sympathetic and believable male lead.
Set in 2027 in a dystopian London where no babies have been born (in the world) for 18 years it concerns Owen’s quest to help a heavily pregnant black girl (Claire Hope Ashitey)to safety on an Island community called the Human Project. The society that has evolved since the human race found it was unable to procreate is nasty, dangerous factious and heavily ruled by an aggressive police presence. Peter Mullan as Syd, the bad, good cop is fantastic, as ever. So too is Michael Cain who plays an aging hippy that helps Owen and Ashitey (unfortunate surname I have to say)
The script, cinematography, plot and acting are all brilliant but there is one very long single-take scene that steals the show.
As Owen and his charge struggle through a side street that is hosting a modern day gunfight at the OK Coral, someone is shot and the camera lens is flecked with blood. Throughout the scene the blood remains on the camera lens which creates an incredibly realistic and actually quite terrifying sense that you, the viewer, are in the midst of this horrendous nightmare.
It’s a great movie and one I now wish I had seen in the cinema.
I think I’ve raved about Kismot before but, if so, I am going to do so again. It is a family run Indian restaurant in St Leonards Place in Edinburgh, described by some as the new “old” Khushis.
New, old, whatever. It boasts the finest food and the best service in an Indian restaurant in Edinburgh.
When I say good service, I mean spectacular. This family is brilliant. Dad is the chef. Mum bakes the exquisite nans. The son is head waiter and has a truly authentic Edinburgh/Indian accent, and the daughters are the waitresses.
The food is abundant, authentic, delicious and stunning value.
To top it off it’s a BYOB joint.
I promise you, you will not find a better Indian restaurant in Edinburgh.
And, if you don’t believe me read this…
Night Out With Friends
The Kismot in St Leonards St, Edinburgh is a treasure of true ethnic Asian eating, whether eating in or taking a meal home. Spotlessly clean, this family run restuarant is the best we have sampled in the whole of the UK. Mum & Dad do the cooking, the rest of the family give the friendliest, most welcoming ambiance you could wish for. Yes often in Kilts!!!! We had arrived back in Edinburgh 18months ago from India and having nothing in the house went out for dinner-it was the night of the opening of The Kismot. So spotting a new place we gave it a try – no regrets whatsoever – the food was just as we had been having 2 days previously IN INDIA!!! We have been back to the Kismot many times and often with friends, others we have told about how good it is have all thanked us for the info. No drinks licence, so if you eat in – Take your own bottle(s) with you. The Menu is Typical of Indian/Bangladeshi Restuarants, however, the standard of the cooking, ingredients, presentation and taste are way way above anything we have experienced anywhere else in the UK.
|An absolutely wonderful restaurant! The food is delicious, probably the best Indian food I have ever tasted. The atmosphere is perfect for any occassion and for large or small groups. The price is very reasonable. But, the best thing about this restaurant is the family who run it – they are very friendly, lovely people and can not do more to please you!|
My mate Norman Lamont (no, not that one) wrote a piece of instrumental guitar music in memory of the young son of his friend, Kyle McEwan, who was found dead in Dundee on November the 28th.
Read his blog post and listen to it.
It’s called, For Kyle.
It is beautiful.
Filed under: music, videos | Tags: 2007, 2007 best, albums of the year, best music in 2007, best music of 2007, top ten, top ten 2007, year end list
This is always one of my highlights of the year.
Making the big choice.
And this year was full of rich pickings.
Q said Arcade Fire was numero uno and I am inclined to agree.
Mojo said Radiohead, I can’t comment. I didn’t download it for free.
The Observer went for The Good, The Bad and The Queen. Now, despite my utmost admiration for Damon Alborn I have to say, I didn’t like that at all. Strange choice.
My top ten goes like this.
Neon Bible by Arcade Fire
Wow. They came back bigger (much bigger) and better than before. Although I wasn’t at either Glastonbury or T in the Park I saw both on TV and on each occassion they were the best live band. My biggest disapointment, musically, of the year was having to turn down tickets to see them at the SECC.
Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
This year’s out of the blue. One off classic. Like The Ballad of The Broken Seas last year by Isabel Campbell and Mark Lanegan. There’s no reasons why albums like this exist but they do, so just take it while it’s going.
I reviewed it on the 60 Watt blog here.
I wish I could have loved you more by Candie Payne
Saw her live and it was my favourite gig of the year. Totally overlooked by the media, this may be my favourite album of the year. A modern day take on wjhat dusty Springfield might have done if she’d been starting out now. I reviewedit in more depth here. And there’s a video too!
Shine by Joni Mitchell
From the first chord to the last, a masterpiece. reviewed earlier in the year on my blog here.
Favourite Worst Nightmare by Arctic Monkeys
Great Rock n Roll. just great. Easily surpasses their first great album. But it’s not cool to like a second album is it. Well, that’s what the music press seem to think. Reviewed here.
Boys and Girls in America by The Hold Steady
No holds barred R and R that blew me away when I first saw them on Jools. Chips Ahoy is a masterpiece. Reviewed here.
The Reminder by Fiest
Soft jazzy stuff reviewed here. Is Canada the hottest place on the planet just now? I’d say so.
This is the Life by Amy McDonald
I presumed this was a teen angst set. It’s not it’s great folk rock album.
A Lily for the Spectre by Stephanie Dosen
Beautiful and quiet singer songwriter stuff reviewed here.
Kala by MIA
The best world music album I heard last year. It’s a hip hop travelogue with a heavy third world political doctrine behind it. Much of it is great fun. This was my review and there’s a video too.
and on heavy rotation but either not released this year or just not quite top ten material were…
Cansei De Ser Sexy by CSS
Very naughty Brazilian rocky, poppy dance music, compared in some quarters (but not this one) to the rather overrated Klaxons.
Four on the Floor by Juliette and the Licks
Totally written off as crap and uncool and yet this is a vicious, hard working and actually, great Rock and Roll album.
Ma Fleur by Cinematic Orchestra
Lush orchestral jazz, that’s beautiful but one of the guest singers sounds too like Chris Martin for my liking. Reviewed here.
Thirst for romance by Cherry Ghost
Three great songs, but although a good album it turned out to be my disappointment of the year because, for me, the est ddn’t live up to the promise of the singles. Still really good, personal singer songwriter stuff with a heavy dose of arrangements thrown in.
Made of bricks by Kate Nash.
No need to comment. You’ll love her or hate her. Foundations was a single of the year (probably my No 2 after Grace Kelly). The album is every bit as good as her arch rival’s – and another whom the media love to hate, just ‘cos she’s famous, Lily Allen – actually it’s probably better.
Re-release of the year was, no question…
Collosal Youth by Young Marble Giants.
Sublime. Reviewed here (and a video)
And actually, compiling my tracks of the year is harder to do than albums. I’ve made up my usual compilation CD and anyone who wants a copy is welcome to it. Just ask.
For the first time ever I found it a major challenge to limit it to 19 tracks. No Norah Jones, despite one excellent song on her 2007 release. Mika had to be in, despite being desperately uncool.
Smash and grab – Juliette and the licks
People help the people – Cherry ghost
One week last summer – Joni mitchell
No Cars go – The Arcade Fire
Why should I settle for you – Candi Payne
Chips Ahoy- The Hold Steady
Brandy alexander – Feist
Grace Kelly – Mika
Crual Storm – Espers (A KF reccomendation)
15 – Rilo Kiley
505- Arctic Monkeys
Alala – CSS
Only getting better – Stephanie Dosen
Ma Fleur – The Cinematic Orchestra
Dickhead – Kate Nash
Gone Gone Gone – Plant and Krauss
Mr Rock n Roll – Amy McDonald
Missing my Son – Tom Waits
Filed under: Arts, books, politics, stories | Tags: Maragret Atwood, novels, sci fi, The Handmaid's tale
This novel is quite extraordinary. Margaret Atwood, at her best, is a remarkable writer. But this is perhaps her finest hour. Her ability to write sci-fi (as in both this novel and in Oryx and Crake) in such a way that it bears comparison to Huxley and Otrwell (as opposed to Asimov and Clarke) AND to write historical period pieces such as Alias Grace and the Robber Bride is, in my experience, unmatched.
Like many of her novels a very strong feminist subplot lies at the core, but that should not put male readers off because the writing is so powerful and the ideas, politics (not just sexual) and plotting are so engaging and page-turning.
The novel was written in 1985 and, like 1984 by George Orwell, it could almost have realised itself in this reader’s lifetime.
It is set, nominally, in the mid 21st century in a dystopian society ruled by men in a land called Gilead – but in reality the USA. (Atwood’s home nation, Canada, has a minor role as a heroic state.)
Following an unnamed “war” and rebellion a male-run fascist state emerges where women become either reproductive breeders and servents or else sent to the “colonies” to clear up nuclear waste, as fodder.
Our heroine, Offred, is one of these reproductive handmaids and tells her story across the pre- and post-rebellion period reflecting in flashback, throughout the book, on her blissful previous existance and in the present on the indignity of her plight.
The detail and plotting of this novel is breathtaking. All sorts of “inventions” and political outcomes are now (in 2007) realised from what was fantasy at the time of writing. Her political insights are incredible and her support for feminism unstinting.
This is a sublime novel and I cannot wait to see the movie again.
Do yourself a favour. Read it.
Filed under: life, sports, stories, tv | Tags: BBC Sports personality of the Year, streaking
12 months ago I ranted about the ridiculous choice of Zara Phillips as Sports personality of the year.
I stand by that.
I believed Joe Calzhage should have won it, fair and square, and yet he didn’t even make the top three.
A year later I voted, once again, for Joe, even though Lewis Hamilton was the favourite… and a good guy.
In fact, even though I wanted Joe to win, I acknowledged that Lewis could not lose.
So much so that I said I would run naked up and down the street if he didn’t.
I have a naked run planned at 5.30 am on 3 Jan 2008.
Jamie Clague of Terinea pointed out that Windows Live Writer is a great blogging tool. I’m just trying it out. Here’s a photo I took to keep you going.
It seems like a good tool. And it works!
Filed under: Uncategorized
This is hysterical.
Me, Pete Mill, Iain Hawk and Tony Harding proving we can dance.
I wrote an email to my accountant yesterday for an explanation of a VAT issue that I had.
She sent me a really helpful response.
Sorry Mark I’m missing something. Column 1 fully taxable gives taxable (for income tax) of the net amounts of VAT and then you remit the net VAT to HMRC. Column 2 is under flat rate scheme where VAT to be remitted is the 8.5% of the sales amount (£85) but for income tax you are taxed on the net plus 9% VT but get a deduction for the VAT inclusive cost.
Errr, no, not really.
Great shot. Interesting series of photos should you care to google him.
Filed under: life, tv | Tags: Bafta, british tv, C4, channel 4, documentary, The secret millionaire
It is difficult to imagine how C4 could make two series of this poignant and (although at times a little staged) naturalistic documentary series. And yet they did. Perhaps the fact that it is not a BBC production has saved it, because its magic ingredient is surprise.
Tabloid treatment would kill it.
This is TV at its best and I have failed to last an episode without shedding copious tears. It really is very moving documentary and I recommend it unreservedly.
This utterly outstanding series came to an end last night and featured amongst its many treasures live footage of Edward Steiken’s, The pond, Moonlight being sold at Sothebys for $2.6m
It was shot in 1904 and is a wonderful picture. Sadly, I think its rarity (only 3 prints) outweighed its artistic value, although it is undoubtedly a beautiful image.