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July 28 2018

bigbubbles
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That moment when you happen to turn on the TV and accidentally catch a band that blows you away unreservedly. One day after teatime in 1989, I idly flicked over to BBC2 on the telly in my room, and spent the next half hour transfixed by Scotland's Love And Money. That a band could have such funky tunes, and then midway let rip with an absolutely stinging guitar solo, was not something I had previously encountered. L&M, frankly, shat all over Deacon Blue, Hipsway, the Blow Monkeys and all the other Scottish bands briefly popular around that period, and their albums still sound great. It probably didn't hurt that lead singer James Grant had a similarly manly, waistcoated physique to my own, and I had aspirations on the quiff too.

And, thankfully, that show is still available for us on YouTube. (After all, if the appearance of the cast of Bread at the 1991 Royal Variety Show is preserved in all its terrible glory, the most excruciatingly awful five minutes in television history, then at least we should be able to retain the highlights too.) So here's my advice for making life measurably better: listen to Love And Money.

June 10 2018

May 19 2018

April 21 2018

March 30 2018

March 24 2018

March 13 2018

In the Land of Giants by Max    Adams Ade is 62% done with <a href="/book/show/26502442-in-the-land-of-giants">In the Land of Giants</a>.
Ade wrote: Tied up in Oswalds and Aelfriths; this is turning into a bit of a slog.

January 30 2018

January 10 2018

Citizen Clem by John Bew Ade is on page 252 of 688 of <a href="/book/show/27855002-citizen-clem">Citizen Clem</a>.
Ade wrote: Picked up speed quite suddenly with the descent into WW2 and Labour's defenestration of Chamberlain in favour of Churchill as PM. One can see why Attlee was proudest of taking his party into coalition government at a time of national need.

January 07 2018

January 06 2018

Keeping On Keeping On by Alan Bennett Ade has read Keeping On Keeping On (Kindle Edition) by Alan Bennett
bookshelves: partly-read
The diary is the best part, obviously. The rest is interesting but a bit of a ragtag collection. A reminder that however good your parody of Alan Bennett, it can never be as acute or as funny as the one he's spent years perfecting for himself.
Keeping On Keeping On by Alan Bennett Ade is on page 582 of 736 of <a href="/book/show/31887516-keeping-on-keeping-on">Keeping On Keeping On</a>.
Ade wrote: Think I'll stop here and skip the play scripts, they don't really work on the page.

January 05 2018

Brief snowfall over Graigwen, Pontypridd
bigbubbles

The Dark Is (Re)reading

Later thoughts on The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper.

I first read TDIR around the age of thirteen, pulling it off the shelves in an English lesson mainly on the strength of the cover. I loved it then, and went on to read the rest of the sequence (except the first, which seemed unrelated in spirit and intent). The fifth book, The Grey King, was a particular highlight; one of those novels that becomes inseparable from its setting ever after, in this case the murky slopes of Cadair Idris and the dark waters of Talyllyn beneath it.

I tried rereading TDIR a year or two ago, again at Christmas, but abandoned it midway almost immediately after Christmas Eve. I made another attempt this year, inspired by #TheDarkIsReading on Twitter and, while I finished it this time shortly before returning to work in the new year, my interest once again mostly evaporated with the Christmas brandy. I think the rural setting and evocation of a family Christmas are marvellous and have a strong appeal in the December run-up, but I found the story itself comparatively less enthralling. The fantasy element has lost its appeal and Merriman Lyon  seems laughably portentous in his every sombre pronouncement. The linking of magic with landscape and nature is intriguing, although I'm not inclined to entertain any pagan guff about it. But the major events of the book itself did not keep me gripped as they did before, and I finished it feeling vaguely dissatisfied and somewhat annoyed that I hadn't found time to read something more adult as well or instead. Indeed, having vaguely thought about carrying on to re-read TGK (which admittedly is probably a stronger story), I ultimately decided to forego it. I'm sure thirteen year olds today would still be enraptured by it, but the experience confirms - in my case at least - that a grown-up should steer clear of childish things.
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