Showing posts from 2010

My Little Superstars

It's the school holidays again so it's back to work entertaining my boys and preparing for Christmas. I can't really complain as they're lovely children and even though they drive me bonkers a good proportion of the time they also serve me up moments like this one a few weeks ago;

Jacob and Ben pick up awards from former British No 1 tennis player and television presenter Andrew Castle. Jacob: U12 County Champion, U12 South County Champion, U14 South County finalist. Master Ben: South County U10 Champion, County U9 finalist and together ( not fighting for once) South County U13 doubles finalists.
You know, it kinda made me feel proud. Shame about the tie. And the collar. And those ears. Other than that - pretty good!

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

There's been so many recordings of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, the songfirst made famous by the greatJudy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. Up until recently my favourite recording of this timeless song was probably the one by the lateEva Cassidy. However, in the last few weeks I've been hearing the version by Hawaiian Israel Kamakawiwo'ole recorded in 1993 and I have to admit it has a certain addictive quality. It's really quite bizarre how all three of these talented performers should have died so comparatively young; Judy was 47, Israel only 38 and Eva just 33. All three singers are so very different but I think all do equal justice to a truly wonderful song. We're lucky they left behind such wonderful legacies.


Judy Garland

Eva Cassidy

Israel Kamakawiw'ole

Music Monday; In the Bleak Mid-Winter

We are in the middle of a harsh winter here in the UK.  Snow, ice and fog have been plaguing us since mid November and as much as I find the scenery stunningly beautiful it certainly makes driving more hazardous and impacts on daily routines. But as Christmas approaches the weather does seem quite appropriate and it reminds me of my favourite Christmas carol, In the Bleak Mid-Winter.

I was attempting to sing In the Bleak Mid-Winter in the car this afternoon. I say "attempting" because a little voice popped up from the back seat of the car;

"Mummy, will you please stop singing."

However, as I was in full vocal swing and pretending I was on the X Factor, I ignored Master Benedict's pleading.

A few seconds later Master Benedict quipped;

"I wish I could take a gun to my head."

Needless to say, I stopped singing.

Hmm. Master Benedict seems to have inherited my sense of humour and my phraseology. I'm not so sure that's a good thing for a 9 year old …

The Absurdity of Life

Life is absurd. It's even more absurd when you think how much time we spend trying to make sense of it. Sometimes things happen that are so bizarre or distressing that the situation becomes almost comical. I reckon if someone recorded the conversations in my house (particularly in my kitchen) people would probably ask which Samuel Beckett play they were listening to.

Mr T: Have you had enough?
Mrs: Yes! Of what?
Mr T: Of
Mrs T: I always had. (Pause) Not you then?
Mr T:(gloomily) Then there's no reason for it to change.
Mrs T: It may end. (Pause.) All life long the same cooking, the same recipes.
Master Sam: Why this farce, day after day?
Master Jacob: I've lost my tooth in the bolognese.
Mrs T: When?
Master Jacob: I had it yesterday.
Mrs T: Ah yesterday! That was when it was fresh.
Master Jacob: I've lost my tooth. And my appetite.
Mrs T: Well I never!
Master Ben: Is my tea ready?
Mrs T: What tea?
Master Ben: The bolognese.
Master Jacob: L…

Cleopatra Eyes and Silly Talk

I'm back. I've been gone for a few days as I've been doing a lot of reading and writing a serious article which I've now finished. So, I've got time to write here on my blog. Hurrah, I hear you say!

Okay, maybe not. Maybe a polite round of applause then? Oh come on, don't be so mean spirited, it's nearly Christmas!

The trouble is when I've been away for a while I tend to be a bit maniacal with my writing and I tend to wander off on weird and obscure tangents. Like Samuel Beckett. The Theatre of Absurd. Cornish pasties.

Okay, don't panic I'll leave that stuff to later.... hey I didn't even know I was going to write about Cornish pasties so if you think you're worried try being me! Hmm...I just said I was going to write about Cornish pasties and I have absolutely no idea why.

Anyway, why don't we start off with some music. Here's a great song by the very talented Shania Twain. I find her music and videos quite witty. If you watch…

Classic Comedy Conversations

Language is always changing. Words becoming redundant or develop an entirely new meaning. New words evolve. Of course, sometimes with all these changes, homophones and language quirks we can cross purposes which can lead to the most embarrassing or amusing incidents....

On Sunday, I was sitting by myself in the empty cafeteria at our local golf club whilst the boys were hitting a few balls on the driving range. I'd forgotten my glasses so instead of reading I was just taking in the surroundings and watching the Remembrance Day parade with the television on mute. All was peace and quiet....

The door swings open and two men enter, having just finished their round of golf. They are like chalk and cheese. One is weather beaten, in his mid fifties and what (not wanting to appear rude) what I would call a working man who has obviously "made good". The other is in his early twenties, fresh faced, confident and dressed in even more trendy golfing gear than the older gentleman. T…

Men and Women: Together at Odds.

This post was inspired by Georgie B (with thanks) who got me thinking about the differences between men and women:

1. Men like women's breasts. Women also like breasts. Particularly with peas, baked potato and a light mayo: we always appreciate a low calorie meal.

2. Men like women's backsides. The only backsides women like are the ones on their way out of the door at 7am. Unless the backside belongs to Arnold Schwarzenegger when we concede that firm buttocks can be attractive- especially when coated in $2000 Armani suit.

3.Men like women's legs. (Unless they belong to Helga the Russian shot putter) Women think men's legs are funny. Especially when men keep their socks on during sex or when they belong to Tom Cruise.

4. Men like women's underwear. Sometimes they even wear it. Women think both men's and women's underwear is laughable. They would never wear men's underwear although they might use it to polish the doorknockers, clean the toilet, or fashion…

Music Monday; Lest We Forget

I can't remember when it began. This fascination with war. Yet, throughout my life, my imagination has been gripped by stories of human conflict. The interest may have begun one Sunday afternoon in front of the fire where I would often sit and watch old movies, it may have been from a book I picked up at the library or perhaps even from the knowledge that my father had served in the Royal Navy during The Second World War. But years on, having read countless war stories, watched numerous films and having studied history I am still just as fascinated by what is the most abhorrent of subjects.

For it is truly a repugnant subject. And the fact that so many wars appear to be have been wrongly waged makes it even more distasteful. Decimation, subjugation, bloody death, the murder of innocents - as a race our violence often has no limitations. At times we are no better than squabbling animals fighting over living space. Sadly, I think it is unlikely we will ever progress beyond those iss…

Judgement Day, Philosophy and the Meaning of the Word "Chair"

The weather is particularly gruesome here in the UK at the moment which is always conducive to slouching on the sofa with a good book. Indeed as I write the sky is dark grey, rain is lashing down and the wind is pulling ferociously at the trees and telephone wires.

So not a particularly great view from my study then. I did actually order a room with a picturesque canyon and sunset overlooking a discreetly placed chocolate factory. But God was on holiday and St Peter sent me the view for blasphemers. What an absolute rotter.

Yikes. Judgement Day. I've got some strong feelings and philosophies about Judgement Day which I can sum up (surprisingly) rather succinctly;

It's pretty scary stuff.

Yep, that's my philosophy. You didn't expect something profound did you? Look, I don't do profound stuff. Sometimes I try but every time it reminds me of what Mr T says when I serve up something new;

That wasnice. But let's not have it again Mrs T.

Yeah, so best leave the clever…

Jagger, Richards and the Simply Stylish

I was a bit mean yesterday about Mick Hucknall of Simply Red. That's me... a little impetuous at times! Oh dear - but the good thing is no one ever takes me seriously so I never get into any trouble - although it's true I'm still waiting to hear from Martin AmisMind you, at least with this blogging world there's always the opportunity to edit and undo what you've done. Not so when you're in print! I wonder if Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones will ever regret writing about Mick Jagger's affair with Marianne Faithful in his autobiography Life.

Now look away all you folks who don't want to be exposed to the lurid ramblings of  Keith Richards as here comes a particularly juicy quote from Keith about Marianne Faithful and Jagger...

(She) "had no fun with his tiny todger. I know he's got an enormous pair of balls - but it doesn't quite fill the gap."

Heaven's above! That's a bit too personal isn't it? And it's about his…

Stuck in the Middle of the Dishwasher

This morning, after yet another mad rush to get the boys off to school, it was time to do the early morning household chores which included that mind numbing task of unloading the dishwasher.  Groan, groan, groan...

You know, I remember when I first got my dishwasher; it was like magic. I loved stuffing all the dirty crockery in it and all the surfaces being clean without hardly any effort. Just my style! (i.e - Fundamentally lazy.) But now folks I've become slack, cruel and heartless... I'm taking my dishwater for granted. Frankly, I'm a cow to it. I can't be bothered to clean it out (well it gets washed every day so why bother?) until it starts protesting by leaving smears over my glasses and sometimes I pack it so tightly the door is practically bulging and sometimes I even...I'm afraid to admit this folks... sometimes I even put cheap dishwashing tablets in it.....

Oh dear God what a heathen I've become! Right, I promise to buy some really really nice scent…

The Booker in Question

Fiction choices are a very subjective matter; what is pleasure for someone can be angst for another. Nothing brings this more out in the open than speculation about how some of the leading book prizes are selected. Just what do the panel of learned judges look for and how do they come to their decision? Last year, The Man Booker prize, which has a whopping £50,000 attached was awarded toWolf Hallby Hilary Mantel. Yet it has had mixed reviews in particular from the buying public who tend to judge a book on its readability and not on its literary merit. Certainly, everyone I know has at least struggled with parts of it or not finished it and, alas, my copy still sits on my waiting-to-read shelf. With over 650 pages I can't help but keep passing over it for more novels which appear to be less of a challenge.

Anyhow, this year the prize has been awarded to The Finkler Question by Harold Jacobson. Generally, my impression from the articles I've read is that it is an unpopular choi…

Public Health Warning

Tomorrow something catastrophic is going to happen...

I am going to bake a cake.

News, Views and Knickers

Okay it's not more stories of how I got caught short. So you can sink back into your chair and relax. I thought I'd take time out to tell you some news.

Firstly, it's all change at The View From Here where the team has been joined by some huge names in British publishing including Scott Pack of The Friday Project (Harper Collins), leading literary agent Simon Trewin of United Artists, publisher, poet and author Alessandro Gellenzi of Alma Books, editor and publicist Luke Brown of Tindal Press and the MD of Legend Press Tom Chalmers (who recently I dressed up in a skirt and sequins in my review of The Grease Monkey's Tale) as well as a good few others.

From right to left; Scott Pack, Simon Trewin, Luke Brown, Alessandro Gallenzi and Tom Chalmers. All new voices at The View From Here. 

The arrival of these new contributors is a big endorsement for The View From Here in our quest to bring new life to the world of literary magazines and showcase new talent alongside establ…