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November 27 2019

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar Ade gave 5 stars to The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock (Hardcover) by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Thoroughly engrossing, a highlight of this year's reading.

November 23 2019

November 14 2019

November 09 2019

November 05 2019


It happened at Pebble Mill

This is a recounting of something I swear I once watched on daytime TV, except I've never since seen any reference to it or been aware of any repercussions for the parties involved. Google and YouTube searches for obscure telly moments have come up blank. Did I dream it? You decide...

It was Pebble Mill. Not the original "Pebble Mill At One" that ran until 1986, but the later magazine-style afternoon show of the early 90s with light chat, celebrity guests and music - all fairly anodyne, which made the events I'm about to relate seem even more bizarre and unlikely. Can't remember now how I happened to be watching it on this day but either I was home from uni and bored, or ill, or off work with nothing to do. One of the guests this day was...well, I won't name names as my memory might be playing tricks, but let's call him Dwayne Money (and apologies Dwayne if you're not the person I'm thinking of). He was on to perform a few rock 'n' roll numbers - or ersatz cover versions if we're being more accurate - that I think might have been linked to a provincial venue tour he was undertaking at the time, most likely aimed at...well, the kind of people who watched Pebble Mill in the afternoon (except for the students - like me - and the unemployed).

Dwayne did his (rather parodic) number and then walked over to be interviewed. I'm not too sure who the interviewer was either, but it was definitely a woman and I'm fairly sure it would most likely have been Judi Spiers or someone similar (could be Fern Britton but I don't think she was doing PM then). Anyway, Dwayne sat down and it quickly became apparent that there was a certain amount of bad blood between him and the lady in question. In fact, it looked rather more like one of those fabled showbiz feuds was underway. From the off, the interviewer took a somewhat derogatory line and slipped quite a few pointed jabs in with her questions, and after a brief attempt to parry in good humour, I'm pretty sure Dwayne started replying in kind. Hostilities weren't open at this point, but you didn't have to read far between the lines to apprehend that there was no great love lost between the pair, and that the presenter was certainly not Dwayne's biggest fan. (Well, that would have been Dwayne himself to be fair.)

Following this bout, Dwayne went back on to the little podium stage to perform another number and close the show. Somewhere in the outro, as the credits rolled, he yanked the presenter up for a spot of rock 'n' roll jiving. But it was rather vigorous jiving and she didn't appear to be particularly enjoying it - until with a deliberate and concerted shove, he sent her staggering off the stage and finished the performance on his own. As the lights came up and the programme went to black, it was quite clear that Ms Presenter was extremely upset. Words something like "How DARE you! I NEVER wanted to do that!!" were audible just before the sound was faded out, leaving the viewers - well, this one and judging from the lack of renown, I might have been the only one - somewhat stunned by what they'd just witnessed.

I've scoured the Internet for stories of "Dwayne" and whoever was interviewing him, perhaps links to old tabloid reports or tattle columns, but come up blank. So: am I alone in recalling this obscure little incident? And if not, how has it come to be glossed over ever since?

November 04 2019

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles Ade gave 5 stars to A Gentleman in Moscow (Kindle Edition) by Amor Towles
bookshelves: partly-read
Fab. May write more later but not slow at all - just enjoy the journey - and utterly gripping, particularly in the closing stretch. Who wouldn't want to be exiled to an exclusive hotel anyway, even one in Soviet Russia - especially if one were a distinguished gentleman of taste and experience.

October 28 2019

October 22 2019

October 19 2019

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles Ade started reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

October 14 2019

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles Ade wants to read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

October 03 2019

Who Dares Wins by Dominic Sandbrook Ade is on page 57 of 864 of <a href="/book/show/43389716-who-dares-wins">Who Dares Wins</a>.
Ade wrote: Initial thought: the two previous hardback tomes in this series had fairly classy-looking covers. This one...doesn't. Although it conveys "sustained jingoistic nightmare" quite well.

You'll do well to get through the first chapter on Mrs T without feeling faintly queasy. It's even-handed but even so, there's more praise in there than many would feel she deserved.

October 02 2019

Nairns Towns by Ian Nairn Ade gave 2 stars to Nairns Towns (Paperback) by Ian Nairn
Meh. Ian Nairn blows into a town, sprays the place copiously with adjectives, then leaves. What are these places like to live in, how do the buildings function? He doesn't ask anyone who lives there; that isn't considered. Even as historical record, it fails to convey much useful detail. Also, like his mentor Pevsner, there's an obsessive focus on ecclesiastical architecture. If a town has two dozen churches and half a dozen notable secular buildings, after a brief skim over the latter you can be sure you'll read about every single f**king church in detail - witness the Marylebone chapter, which is obviously the best place because it's in London and all the best people live there. (It makes me think I'd rather claw my own eyes out than go on to read "Nairn's London".)

Unless you can make sense of cryptic remarks such as "the old rhythms have been caught and effortlessly translated" or "queer things happen in the transepts [like WHAT?], and the inside of the tower, looking up, brings to mind Baalbek rather than Bayeux" - or are actually standing before the architecture in question while reading - I'd avoid it. It's a lot of verbiage to very little descriptive end. Owen Hatherley, whose waspish addenda to each chapter are probably the highlights, lauds Nairn for the quality of his writing, but I'm afraid it left me mostly nonplussed. One star added for the design of this reprinted edition, which is exemplary.

September 29 2019

Mount Cook Holiday Park, Glentanner

(In case you're wondering why my Flickr stream has been quiet lately, it's because I'm still gradually working my way through several hundred images of New Zealand and have been for eighteen months now with probably another year to go. I'm not going to put them all on public view until they're done though.)

September 21 2019

September 20 2019

Nairns Towns by Ian Nairn Ade started reading Nairns Towns by Ian Nairn

September 19 2019

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