Tuesday, 28 May 2013

diseased links

Hey! I went to Hay. And it was hay-ok. I think I might not be on the mend, though it's been so bloody long that who knows what that even feels like? Next Saturday, I'll be in Hay again - The Dazzle this time, rather than Warhorses of Letters.* It's relentless.

Normal service will be resumed shortly. In the meantime, here are some links:

I was going to post about Jeremy Coney, the excellent Kiwi test captain cum commentator cum stage lighting designer, because I like that he's a lighting designer. Then Alex Petridis linked to this ex-sports biog on twitter. Golly.

Gideon Defoe linked to this video of the intro to a short-lived telly comedy about a robot cop the other day. I will not stop re-linking to it until everyone has watched it. And I mean everyone.

While you're in the mood for long lost television, I had literally never heard of Oliver Stone's Wild Palms.

Berlusconi. Isn't he hilarious and awful? Yes. However, when I read about Ruby the Heart Stealer, I remember the (frankly) lies and inventions the Italian police put together and sold to the press during the Amanda Knox affair,** and as much as I don't want to give Silvio the benefit of any doubt...

* Author etiquette moment in Hay: shared a car with Kate Summerscale. I know about one of The Dazzle's minor characters, the lesbian speedboat racer Joe Carstairs, via KS's excellent The Queen of Whale Cay, which was one of the books I read in a 20s/30s decadent glamour binge that eventually led to The Dazzle. It took forty-five minutes and a bit of discussing of our respective works before it was more weird than not to mention her role in my downfall.

** If you doubt me, read The Monster of Florence. If you still doubt me, which no one has yet, get back to me. I will be interested to hear from you.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

moby dick in manhattan

Tall Tales tomorrow. It will be excellent. Must. Finish. Warhorses.


This, by Joanna Kavenna, interested me for obvious reasons. It reminded me of the all-time great New Yorker article Moby Dick in Manhattan (not for squeamish writers).

Three dimensional sculpture/painting sort of things. Octopuses! Etc.

In case you didn't see the hilarious and awful thing about a driver who boasted on twitter about knocking down a cyclist.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

this and that

For a dreamy 36 hours over the weekend it looked as if my mystery virus might actually turn out to have been malaria, but no such luck. We are back to tests and different smashing doctors proving to their satisfaction that apart from being ill, I'm very well indeed. It is like the world's most boring episode of House except that no one has suggested Lupus and I don't get new life-threatening symptoms every fifteen minutes.

Anyway, tabs, mostly via twitter, sorry they're not being credited:

- The guy who stole thousands of objects from the V&A to furnish his council flat.

- The funniest book review I can remember reading, and funnier even than the Dan Brown thing everyone including me has been loving this week. (Not just funny.)

- White House security is racist (gloopy journalese but shocking).

- Who would kill a monk seal?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Get Back Steve!

Virus in fourth week. Stupid virus.

I have listened to almost everything on iPlayer. I even cracked after 18 months of cold turkey and tried The Archers. I'm not that sick, it turns out.

One thing I have really been enjoying, as usual, is Paul Temple. In case you don't listen to much radio drama, Temple was a radio hero for decades in the middle 20th century, and he's a nonsensical posh sleuth who gets described as 'the famous author and amateur detective' in that way where no one really questions whether being 'a famous amateur detective' was ever a thing, which it wasn't.

The stories are all very alike. They are ridiculously intricate. There's an average of more than a death per episode and no one takes them that badly. Usually, Paul shouts at his wife Steve (plucky, clever, great actress, spends too much on clothes, has an 'intuition' once ever few episodes which Paul chuckles about) to 'stay away, I don't want you to see this'. This is even though half the deaths end with an obscure half-clue uttered with the final breath and it would be useful if someone were there to hear. Four people per series are killed after arranging to meet Temple to reveal with villain's name. Everyone bumps into everyone else in London as if it as a tiny village. If a spectacular necklace is stolen, it's the sort of crime that Paul and the police know that can only be committed by 'one man in all England'. Everyone has an accent, for clarity. Policemen tend to be Welsh and Scots. In this series, Harry Worth is a German.

On the other hand, they are well-written, line to line. They are ridiculous but they totally inhabit their ridiculousness, and so that's fine. And they are well-performed. And the period snatches you get are great. On one hand this is a couple laughing about the servant problem with respect to what to get your servant for Christmas. On a much more fun hand, the head of Scotland Yard, Sir Graeme, turned up to talk to Paul when he was in the bath. Paul invited him in and they chatted away, completely comfortably. It wasn't played for laughs. These guys had been in public schools and wars. They weren't worried by seeing each other naked. It was my favourite bit.

Anyway, I am bloody bored of being ill.