Fiona’s Story


Gina McKee

Gina McKee

Give the BBC their due.  I know I’ve ranted a bit about their Olympic bias but they sure can do drama and despite mixed notices in front of tonight’s Fiona’s Story I thought it was outstanding.

Mind you, it had Gina McKee as the lead and she cannot put a foot wrong in my book.  An A-class actress indeed and she carried off a very difficult and sensitive role with great subtlety.

It was a complex emotional plot, based on McKee’s husband being nobbled (no pun intended) for downloading child porn and then gradually attempting to take the emotional high ground by assuming the position of victim as opposed to perpetrator.  McKee’s character, the wife, got landed with all the emotional shit and painted into the bad corner at every turn, despite being as sympathetic as one could possibly tolerate.

A very fine performance (BAFTA anyone?) in a very fine production.

The Mary Whitehouse experience


Hold them in girls.

Hold them in girls.

Jeana has become a consumer champion.

I don’t blame her, because like her I too think Darnell – on Big Brother – can hide behind his Albinism as much as he likes – but that does not give him any excuse/opportunity to call the (rather loud/shreiky) Oz girl a slut and an ugly bitch.

After a fairly decent series (manners wise) he spoiled it a bit.

But it’s got her (Jeana) going.  She’s been pummelling C4 with Mary Whitehousesque troublesomeness.  She’s been shrieking at the screen.

She’s been going for it.

Result!  Darnell gets a wee talking to.

But anyhoo. Who cares? Certainly not me.

So, to much more interesting territories…

During the rather sorry and aforementioned ‘Darnell must go’ interlude we were discussing reading lists for the school year that lies ahead with Ria. She seemed quite interested in Magnus Mills’ book ‘The restraint of breasts.’ Perhaps she thought it was a good old fashioned boddice ripper.

Until I pointed out that it’s called The Restraint of Beasts.

Hilarity ensued – as it did when she proposed changing the middle consonants of the next candidate. The Shipping News.

Mary Whitehouse would have turned in her grave.  If she was dead.  Is she?

Obama death threat


Come on Barack.  Cross the line.

Come on Barack. Cross the line.

Of course the real risk to Obama’s accession to world power is that some fanatic kills him.

The fact that a right wing white supremacy unit set out to pick him off on the anniversary of Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech might, in hindsight have seemed obvious but it remains a real and present danger to this man’s life.

And, in that respect it remains a real and present danger to this world being a better place to live in.

I think the FBI has to be congratulated (assuming it was them who did it) for uncovering the plot by a bunch of hick Nazis to kill one of the world’s most important people.  And let’s not kid ourselves he IS one of the world’s most important people.

Scotland is an exciting place to live, from a political perspective, right now because Alex Salmond’s SNP-led government has thrown off the shackles of what couldn’t be done before.  It has a real sense of the new and it’s genuinely rather exciting.  So imagine if you took that same approachh to American politics.

Sheesh.

Lots of comfort zones blown to smithereens.

That’s why we need Obama.

We all know that.

That’s why the wierdos need to be kept on top of.

Please, no Lee Harvey Oswalds.

Jonathan Coe – The House of Sleep


This is the third of JC’s biggies that I’ve read. What a Carve Up is magnificent and The Rotters Club is a hoot. But, aficionados told me the best was yet to come. I don’t know if it was the stop, start nature of the way I read it (it took me well over a month) but it just didn’t hit the same mark for me.

The plotting is dense (and frankly too dense for me to keep up with. (Ah, maybe that’s because you’re dense. Ed.) And yet the structure of shifting the story from the early to mid 80’s in alternate chapters is hardly rocket science. It’s set in a hospital that specialises in treating people with sleep disorders, situated on a cliff top in Ashdown where previously the man in charge, the more than slightly bonkers Dr Dudden, lodged in his university days. That’s where the whole thing stands or falls because the cast of characters all had some sort of link to the house back in the day and it all just got a bit too silly for my liking.

Maybe it was the characters. He rarely writes particularly sympathetically but this book is populated with caricatures that I never really cared for.

Don’t get me wrong though it is crafty and, in parts, crafted. He can deliver gags with ease can JC but too many of them in this novel were teed up and delivered ‘boom boom’ style.

I did laugh out loud on several occasions though.

Nah, if you only ever read one JC book, make it What a Carve up.