Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Can't do pictures

Rullsenberg is narked as she can't upload pictures on her pc. But I can.

Normal service will be resumed.

Picture problems: so here's a picture

Lisa and Neil in Lincoln

Just testing: it seems I can only upload pictures now that I pull from photobucket along with some nifty html shifting. Because BetaBoswellox insists on my blog being unable to upload pictures on my computer.

It was fine at work.

I assummed that it was now fine at home, especially when Neil said he could now upload pics onto my blog on his laptop.

PISH!!! But no!

It is still PERSONAL.


George's running

Mighty impressive, even without the poorly toe!

PS if you haven't already done so, catch up on all his recent munro stuff: the walks are inspiringly exhausting but the views are great even when they're mist-enshrouded. There is something weirdly awesome about pictures atop a munro in MAY that display snow!

John Shuttleworth

Hard to know how to respond to his humour, except by laughing your socks off.

A very entertaining evening was had by all (especially those in the audience who knew all the words to several songs - and there were many of those sat near us).

Mind, it's hard not to join in with the classic "Pigeons in Flight"...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Blogger problems: pictures and saving drafts

Told ya I was having problems with saving drafts (like, it totally DID NOT WORK?!) - well now I find I can't post pictures since the blogger picture link icon button will not function.

And it's "personal" since Cloud can happily hit that button and post images - as can I using his blog.

But my machine and my blog just will not work.


To calm me down we are off to see some light entertainment John Shuttleworth style.

See ya folks

Help Rachel: Assist the Police in locating a cyberstalker

400 days on after a cyber-stalker began a campaign of harrassment against her, Rachel needs our assistance.

If you see Felicity Lowde, call the police.

Help Catch Felicity Jane Lowde
(I'll try to change this so it doesn't use someone else's bandwidth but Blogger is playing BetaBollux with me at the moment)

NOTE from Rachel:
"Re. picture on blog buttons. It is a nice picture, but it is c. ten years old. The police are unable to release her arrest photo, but say she has aged and put on considerable amounts of weight since it was taken.

Age 41 ( police say she appears older). 5'8 tall.

Size 16/18 (police say overweight for height)

Eyes brown/green with unusual squinting appearance in one eye

Hair mouse/light brown, possibly some grey

She usually uses internet cafes in London, usually between 4pm and 6pm.

Also likely to be found in public libraries and anywhere with cheap or free internet access. She periodically travels to North Oxford, where she lived before the trial"
Please help the police trace Felicity Lowde.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Orlundo Bland

Hee hee hee.

I don't always agree with him, but listening to Kermode's breathless rant against Pirates 3 is hilarious.

Favourite line on Orlundo Bland and Keira Knightley as love interest:
"It's like watching two chairs mating"

Birmingham landmark to be closed...?

Sad news should this prove true, that the Birmingham Art School building on Margaret Street may be closed and the UCE art school activities relocated.

Sniff. Its a fabulous building and has been in use by Birmingham's art students for over 120 years.

Hat-tip to Pete Ashton's always fascinating "Created in Birmingham" blog, though I'll be crossing my fingers the students get to remain in this gorgeous building.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Workplace motivation

I'm probably not quite as cynical (wise?) as either Shuggy or Will, but I did appreciate Shuggy pointing me to a certain image from Will.

I do have the following quote on my office door, but that's for a particular reason:
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

Loved the picture though!

TV Today: 1 year on!

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tagged people with surprises

JJ (sic) did this. Then so did Joe.

Seven Things About Me That May Surprise You
Seems hard given how horribly and self-damagingly open I am on this and other people's blogs, but still, I will give it a go.

  1. I hated the Pogues and Kirsty McColl's "Fairytale of New York" when it was first released. Now I love it. It is after all a story song. And you know what a sentimentalist I am for that sort of thing.

  2. Despite my interest in family history I have pretty much lost contact with the few remaining distant bits of family I had left. I miss seeing Neil's family regularly far more.

  3. I frequently leave things unfinished. The only reason this probably doesn't show up much is because I do so damn much in the first place. But I have LOTS of unfinished business in every sense of the word.

  4. I won a bible reading competition at my parent's church, and was only narrowly beaten at a regional final by a much older and more experienced reader. It was an extract from Song of Solomon. And by reading I mean reciting. (You also had to do a passage previously unseen until 5 mins before performance).

  5. We didn't have a telephone until I was 15. That meant a lot of afternoons and evenings on street corners (waiting for a phone box people, waiting for a PHONE BOX. Honestly, your opinion of me...)

  6. I still haven't sent anything to David Tennant to sign for me. Given how extraordinarily popular the lad now is, I think I've missed my chance there. He probably now has a team of 'signers' to keep up with the demand. Should've done it pre-Who!

  7. I really don't understand English Grammar but I often have to explain it to students. I'm winging it.

The rules:

1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include the city/state and country you’re in.
Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
Velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia(London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
Tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Todd (Louisville, Kentucky, United States)
Miss Kendra (los angeles, california, u.s.a)
Jiggs Casey (Berkeley, CA, USA! USA! USA!)
Tits McGee (New England, USA)
Kat (Ontario, Canada)
Badgerdaddy (Ludlow, Shropshire, England)
Dandelion (England, Great Britain)
All Cobblers The Sticks, England.
JoeInVegas (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA)
Rullsenberg (Nottingham, England)

2. List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.

This is TOUGH, and if I had the choice to go broader, the lovely Swan would absolutely be on there.
1. Gusto. Had a very nice meal at this Italian deli/restaurant last September. We go quite often (and did before then as well), but now it has added zing in visiting.
2. Alley Cafe. Vegan/Veggie restaurant. Divine salads. Fabulous day to day specials. Always good value and V hip music in the background.
3. The Vic, Beeston/The Lincolnshire Poacher. Two pubs with a shared menu team. One is near the Uni and is a fab place to go after work (or study). The other is in the city centre. Both have great beer gardens and a mouth-watering selection of whisky. The food is top notch.
4. Petit Paris. A generally older and quieter clientele than the other venues, but as a pre-theatre or gig eatery its a really indulgent location.
5. Home cooking - if it involves a tomato based sauce for rice, pasta, cous-cous then we can make a cracking selection. Nice biscuits/cookies too thanks to the inspiration of Joe.

3. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they’ve been tagged.

Shucks, anyone fancy it? It seems harsh to pick on people and I'm definitely lacking a global blogroll...


Dealt with...

42: I know, you were just waiting for me to add my pennies on this.

I doubt she's the only one who wanted it, but this is for Marie. I didn't tell the PTBs "two words: one to do with travel and the other to do with sex" but I sure appreciated the sentiment!

To begin with the obvious:

Chris Chibnall - he of the much derided Cyberwoman and Countrycide from Torchwood - wrote 42.

There. It's been said and you can all have your shudder of horror at the concept.

But here's the thing, despite all our worst fears - and there were plenty - this actually proved to be a fine example of Who. Not just NewWho but also general Who-ness. Because with Graeme Harper at the helm, what could have turned out much worse turned out to be inflected with directoral joys to over-power most of the worse negative Chibnall effects.

[NOTE: does Chibnall know how much he has been slated in print and especially on the net? It's been pretty relentless really. He must know...]

Anyway: here's my thoughts

What worked -
  • THAT moment of silence. Genius. Far more emotive. Genuinely effective and beautifully shot.

  • The palette of colours. Marie embraced her inner /outer geek and when she said:

    Oh god, am I really going to say something as geeky as:

    I thought the colour temperature was brilliantly handled this episode, contrasting warm orange on-ship / sun colours with the cold blue palate of the escape pod.
    As someone once said, "Quite right too..."

  • Limited Sonic Screwdriver. Bliss. Possibly the best decision of Chibnall's script.

  • Maths! Happy primes! (Geeky happy clapping)

  • "Burn with me..." Dumb villain but a well constructed and unnerving nasty to freak the audience. And I so delighted in thinking "Soft Light" in a a good wat. Pilfer if you must but make it from good stuff.

  • Vulnerable doctor. I'll ignore the worst of the "gurning" as its being commonly called, but seeing the Doctor uncomfortable is no bad idea. Better gurning agony than smug.

  • Francine Jones. Righteously angry? Led astray by... Mr Saxon...? Will be interested to see how that evolves and her survival.

  • Saxon. How excited are we still about that? Answer: very.

Worked worked less well -
  • Script. Obvious really since Chibnall still litters his scripts with too many ideas, many ill-thought through. Sorry, but even with the Elvis/Beatles thing as a motive calling mom, that constantly intruding notion sucked. And everything that somewhat sucked came from the inadequacies of characterisation and what Chibnall got the characters to do.

  • Running. Either Martha needs better shoes or some serious acting lessons in running cos she sucks. And I'm sorry but the Doctor also needs to review his alter-ego's running from Casanova, because he's definitely lost his touch on running convincingly. He looks as if he is doing what the acting requires which is running in short bursts for the camera to capture over and over again. He looks as if he is running from a standing start every time and it just jars at the moment.

So that's my two pennies. Hope it was worth the wait.

Other Reviews:
Behind the Sofa - a whole range of Chibnall haters here, and some measured plaudits for 42 as well
TV Scoop
TV Today

Familiar nominees at the 2007 Satin Pajama Awards

Good to see some deserving and familar names amongst the nominees here.

Go vote!

Blogger does not now save draft posts and I don't care WHAT it says

The button says "Save Now".

Would you anticipate that in hitting it you can save the draft post, as per the previous option to "save as draft"?

Don't be so fucking stupid.

BetaBollux as usual.

ABBA - a childhood recalled

Gert's wonderful hymn to the joys and darkness of ABBA's music is a delight to read - and I couldn't help but add my own recollections to her remarks. She was prompted by writing about the album ABBA Gold. It's reminded me that I have too little ABBA on CD or on the computer. Lots of old vinyl and some cassettes no doubt, but I really need to upgrade.

Seems a contradiction given the stuff on my current last-fm profile, but then that's the eclectic nature of my musical taste!

Sing a long now: Mamma Mia, here I go again...


Hmm. It's been a while since I first became aware of Last.fm and probably almost as long since I got the word from George and thought how how 'up our street' it was. Especially when he wrote this description of it:

All in all, this place is a haven for all us anal, alphabetised record collection type dudes!
Not at all right for me then...


Anyway, you'll be unsurprised to hear that I now have a presence on last.fm now (Rullsenberg's last.fm page) and am building up the tracks played incrementally.

I've already had contact from Chrissie saying what a nice supplement the 'radio' feature is to the CDs we exchange. So if you've yet to be inflicted with my taste then a little and limited taster can be ascertained from there. But bear in mind we haven't even played a small part of the - ahem - muchly diverse and substantial collection of music in the Rullsenberg/Cloud house.

Anna as always is right: Theatre247

Following up on Anna's links is usually going to hit the right buttons with me and this one is no exception.

I have to say Theatre247 looks like it could be worth bookmarking long term.

"Eloquence" redefined as willingness to pilfer ideas from other blogs and create short posts...

Thanks for the hugs, the stripes, and all manner of other responses.

Sometimes it just gets a bit much. Restructuring at work; reorganising and shifting stuff; finishing off tasks before the summer; trying to not feel guilty about taking more of my holiday entitlement; being as thoughtful and kind as I can muster with all the students; and wondering how the bejeesus the house next door can be on sale for just a few quid shy of 200,000 GPB. I mean, I love my house, and their house is in fine nick in terms of renovations which is more than can be said for the stagnated position we've ended up in, and our street is dandy and close to good schools (the biggest selling point round here). But it is still Stabo.

And its a small thing really as I know it's been agreed, but I would also like to get my new work contract in paper form in my sticky paws.

Oh well. Getting there. I'm heading into some short blog link updates.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Lacking eloquence

Sometimes, even though I guess by trade writing is something I'm always involved with producing, absorbing, resolving, I don't always feel particularly eloquent.

Now is one of those moments.

Partly, this is influenced by off-blog events (aka the real world) where the PTBs -"Powers That Be" to those lacking even the Angel reference point - are creating an atmosphere that is less than conducive to calm and certainty.

Fret not folks, it's nothing to do with Neil, or even my job (directly). But it's less than settling in impact and isn't helping me be eloquent.

Does this explain why I'm listening to Low?

For Humanity, For Women

Go read this at Pandagon, and then go read this by Whedon.

It hits you straight in the gut.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Just when blogger tells me you can now retrieve posts if your system crashes, it manages to lose a post completely... despite me hitting POST.

BTW my wrist hurts. Its been a tough week. No jokes about what caused the wrist injury please.

(That means you Chrissie!!!)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Beatles Choices: before I change my mind again...

Here goes:

  1. To Know Her is To Love Her (from The Beatles at the Beeb)

  2. If I Fell (from A Hard Day's Night)

  3. I've Just Seen a Face (from Help!)

  4. In My Life (from Rubber Soul)

  5. I Want You (She's So Heavy) from Abbey Road)


My love for this particular version of "To Know Her Is To Love You" is well established. Unlike other available recorded versions by them, here the harmonies are at their absolutely most perfect. The husky drop in Lennon's voice scarcely bettered elsewhere in their recordings. I first heard it on a BBC show which broadcast on the Beeb in the wake of Lennon's death (a pivotal moment in my life) and wore out tape after tape after tape as I kept re-recording it to a new one just to make it last longer than I knew a tape could. Reading about the Beatles, I discovered this particular track was a gold dust track, loved and longed for in an official recording release afer years of circulation on the Bootleg circuit (if I'm not wrong, "Yellow Matter Custard" was the release that best showcased it to an American bootleg audience where it was passed around like the holy cup of early Beatles recordings). No other version of this song by them even touches the beauty of this one. A joy that always tugs at my heart strings every time I hear it.

"If I Fell" is another ballad of note from the Beatles recordings, and interestingly leans this choice much more to their early recordings than I would have anticipated some time ago. It's from one of my less favourite Beatles LPs, but given that we're talking about albums that would easily be selected over many other recordings anyway, its somewhat arbitrary to make distinctions between good and less good. Again, harmonies....

"I've Just Seen a Face" - the sole contribution to this list from anyone other than Lennon. Sheesh: no Harrison ("Something"! "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"!) here at all? And this so very nearly did not make the cut. It was a tough one to decide whether to have an all-Lennon list or not (it battled for its place with "I'm a Loser" especially). But it's one of the most joyous tracks the Beatles did and the "Help!" album has an especially warm place in my heart.

Choosing "In My Life" may not be especially radical, and of all the tracks here, its the one I suspect is most likely to make the Normblog top track list. The wistful melancholia and adoration that weeps through this track never fails to touch me.

My final choice is something of a curve-ball after all those early songs, but "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" got such heavy rotation from the first time I heard it that I had to include it here. Listening to the song on headphones, its stereoscopic hissing oozing from speaker to speaker as the droning guitar wails to its climax with that dark bassline... makes my ribcage howl with delight at the mere thought of it. For me, one of the best moments in late Beatles recordings.

So there you have it: arbitary, inconsistent and wildly open to change in the next ten minutes. Hell, I was very tempted by the recollection of "Rain" from Puzz Fuzz's choices to go for a complete rewrite of the list. But I'm going with instincts and this is today's, hell, this minutes choice and I'm sticking with it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pages where I am (not) always to be found

People invite me to be their friend.

I like to respond!

Some things need membership to properly access them.

I like to join!

Do I keep up with these things?

Do I heck.

Live journal: I keep this to be able to comment and enjoy the best of the fan fiction Pr0n on the net. I only really get to read it at vacation times - or when Cloud is away (cue me being on there a lot next week!) so the page is more of a means to an end. And it enables me to comment over at Stu's page.

MySpace: I started this to be able to comment on Jarvis's MySpace page. It's been handy to access music - and occasionally to download tracks (thank you Mitch Benn!) but I'm struggling to find time to keep up with scouring its possibilities. So much out there and not enough energy!

Facebook: hilariously I have already joined this once (I think) but given dire warnings by many workplaces about its use I'm not chasing if that has gone into abeyance. But the lovely Non-Hippy Paul has invited me to join and I could not refuse. So I'm there under my sortof name.

So there you go. These are the place where I generally ain't, but if you want me there, I won't refuse your invite. Hell, it's nice to be wanted!

Beatles songs

I'm going to be honest about what the criteria were that I have used for this poll.

I am in agony over whether I can justify including my favourite song on the grounds that it's not only a cover version but also only appeared on a post-band release....

If it's in, then their version of "To Know Her is to Love Her" from the Beatles at the Beeb would ABSOLUTELY be on my top five.

Sheesh, this is tough (yes, I know Norm, I know...). I thought the fights we got into over the Beatles albums were tough enough...

Shortlist (in no particular order):

    If I Fell
    I'm a Loser
    I Want You (She's So Heavy)
    She's Leaving Home
    For No One
    I Will
    Strawberry Fields Forever
    I've Just Seen a Face
    In My Life
    Happiness is a Warm Gun
    While My Guitar Gently Weeps
I'm going to have to sleep on this. And even as I type that I am thinking it's missing some key works...

Normblog Poll!!! Top FIVE Beatles songs

And only five.


Will update with my choices (as instinctive as I can manage without sending myself crazy).

Marking the passing of Falwell

There's been considerable comment on the death of Jerry Falwell. I already alerted Cloud to it (when I couldn't get onto Blogger last night myself), but there have been some scathingly witty remarks that deserve to be commended:

This from J Crowley at Pandagon most recently caught my eye (especially the final remark)

I heard the news on NPR this morning, and the sun seemed just a little brighter. Yeah, I know it’s maybe “bad protocol” to be happy about someone’s death, and I know conservatives are likely going to make a huge deal about the “liberal blogosphere” and how we’re maybe “being rude” or “inconsiderate” or “childish” or whatever (I’m predicting a lot of yammering about it from O’Reilly and Hannity and such over the next week or two), but I honestly don’t care. The world is better for his passing, and I see no reason to mute this sentiment “out of respect” or for whatever other placating, polite, arbitrary notion. He was a hate-mongering asshole with far too much influence, and his death is like removing a swollen, veiny, cancerous lump from humanity. Sure, you look at it floating in its jar of formaldehyde and you know it was made of the same materials you are, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be glad it’s gone, or can’t guiltlessly feel your body is better for it.

I will, however, admit I’m maybe going a step too far by thinking that someone needs to round up about a hundred people, drive a tanker of water out to the place where he’s buried, and spend a few weeks pissing on his grave in shifts.

Reminds me of the infamous competition for the most suitable epitaph to go on Mrs Thatcher's grave: "Licenced for Dancing".

There's plenty more on Falwell's death over at Pandagon - and other locations - which deserves perusal, and the Salon article by Alan Wolfe sums up why Falwell was always unlikely to get a pleasant send-off.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Film Review: This is England

Last Sunday, Cloud and I met up with some friends. Every so often - far less often than we'd like, but its never anything less than a delight to see them - we meet for a film and a meal.

This time we went to see Shane Meadows "This is England" (a review of which is also here at Alan's place).

I probably found it a more affecting film than Alan; I was more moved than disturbed by the relationship of Shaun and Smell. And I really admired the discomforting way in which Meadows made his characters more than one-dimensional goodies/baddies, even when they (largely) behaved as the most reprehensible racists. Praise has been justly given to Thomas Turgoose for his astonishing performance as Shaun, but I'd also pick out Stephen Graham for turning in such a compelling turn as the vile but utterly damaged and tormented Combo. The rage that drives Combo to despicable acts of violence is not simplistically drawn from race hatred but from complex, indeed pesonal, troubles.

Watching it the Nottingham Broadway it was hardly likely to have drawn an audience whose attitudes to race would be much less than at least vaguely liberal. And with its 18 certificate (talk about missing the point BBFC) it's going to get limited opportunities to be shown to younger people who might benefit from seeing and debating the issues it raises. Nicely handled throughout, including some deft switching of tone (from audience laughter to immediate discomfort and disgust), it proves an elegant follow-up to the masterfully sinister Dead Man's Shoes.

Good times for a change indeed.

Mini Blog update

Some changes on the side bar blog listings - shout me if I'm in the wrong on something.

Pulp Muppets

Via Pulp Movies: Savage Popcorn (of course)



Phil on Harry Potter

Phil, now actually existing over at The Gaping Silence (the best contradiction in terms blog name I've read in a long while), has written a very readable analysis of Harry Potter, specifically looking at Book One and most especially the 'moral universe' of the novel.

As the (hopefully) first of a full series of posts on the Potter books, it presents a critical eye but as Phil has clearly read and to a certain extent enjoyed the books, he is at least in a position of judgement which hasn't rested on an automatic emotive response (brilliant/shite).

Well worth digesting.

Comments as pillows at Boob Pencil

Awh, Clare just has the most lovely mind. When you view her posts now, it describes her comments as "My bed is overflowing with [X] pillows" with the X standing for how many comments she has had.

It just reminded me of how wonderful Clare is and how I want to re-read again her fabulous first novel "The Dying of Delight".

Hugs and pillows to Clare.

Rufus on order

Can't wait for it to come!


Last Monday Cloud and I went to Chesterfield for the May Day Workers Rally, our second socialist/workers event within a couple of weeks (any one would think we were politically on the left??!)

Anyway, Cloud has lots of nice pics here, so go look see. (You can see his pics from the Derby Silk Workers March here).

Medium Rob attempts to usurp the Carusobot

We can't wait for his return.

On Poker

Yes, thanks to the joys of the internet (and email) I do know about this/this.

It's not at all occupied my thoughts.

And, as yet, no, I can't play poker....

UPDATED: with new links

Potter Buzz

Building, building, building: the Buy Harry Potter at full-price and help your local school library campaign continues apace.

I'm going to be borrowing the book from a friend rather than buying it, but the idea of donating to a local library/school or otherwise is very appealing.

Theatre Review: Kiss of the Spider Woman

Second attempt.

When will I ever learn to NOT get carried away and type posts in Blogger? When will I ever remember that you MUST type them into NOTEPAD with HTML coding and then transfer them later to Blogger? Only, it seems, when I have nearly had a a Stressed Eric rampaging knot of a stress muscle moment for the umpteenth time it seems.


As you know I first visited the Donmar Warehouse in October last year to see The Cryptogram. Unsurprisingly, having seen the wonderful Douglas Henshall there, I am somewhat predisposed to this intimate venue.

Yesterday, I made a return visit to see Kiss of the Spider Woman, a revival of the Puig play/novel, perhaps best known in its rather different film version starring William Hurt and Raul Julia.

The Donmar production stars Will Keen (whom I first saw alongside Henshall in the Stoppard trilogy, The Coast of Utopia) and relative newcomer Rupert Evans (who looks like he could be the long-lost link between Brad Pitt and Ethan Hawke).

Keen is magnificent in the role of Molina. Of course, he is arch, feminine, manipulative - the role is meant to be so for this 'woman'. But he is also steely, and above all there is a sense of a survival mechanism driving him - one which Molina imagines, hopes, falsely believes, will save both Valentin and himself, even though we know (and you suspect Molina does too) that no one will survive the repressive regime's torture, exploitation, poisoning and brutal murdering. Rather than the hyper-Marxist macho strength invested in Valentin by Raul Julia, here Valentin is a younger, perhaps more deluded idealist. He passionately believes in his studies, the cause, the revolution, but his emotions expose that at heart he is more conflicted than that. Does he, can he really believe that Molina would be safe once beyond the prison walls?

Cut short to avoid the brutal consequences of Molina's exit from prison, this production leaves its audience with a more empty sense of inevitability of their choices. It's no less emotionally hard to cope with, and perhaps in robbing us of the finality of what happens once Molina leaves, it is more tragic rather than less so. Their final kiss and embrace become even more futile: perhaps we never really needed to see what happened next at all.

Brilliant Book: John Ajvide Lindqvist - Let the Right One In

Last weekend the lovely lovely Baby Washington sent me a fabulous book to read.

John Ajvide Lindqvist: Let the Right One In (forthcoming English translation 2007)

Translated from Swedish by Ebba Segerberg

Okay, here's the thing. The book came Saturday 5 May at about 7.30am.

I read it straight through.

Seriously, this is the very definition of a page-turner. I absolutely could not stop reading it.

By mid-afternoon I had finished it. Every thrilling page of it.

So what can you expect if you get hold of this book?

Well, it's essentially a vampire tale. But it is so much more than that. It's magical in its ability to convey the mysteries and weirdness of its narrative. It's also a beautifully realised tale of growing up: the conflict of emotions that can be stirred by (almost) adolescence. Though I haven't ever been to Sweden, there is a real sense of place to the novel in its depiction of the bleak, blank, psyche-dulling environs of Sweden's suburb flats and underpasses. The central characters - Oskar and Eli - are the kind of people who you quickly become interested in and for whom you wish the best, despite the horrors of the story and the havoc Eli stirs.

There are scenes of real violence and horror (that whole thing from Buffy about vampire's easily being vamooshed into dust? It ain't happening here. The scenes with Virginia in the hospital are vivid and wincing. Sickness - emotional and physical - is both brutal and painful. And as proof that Linqvist isn't only capable of writing young people - the petty bullying violence and desire for affection, vengeance, survival - turn to the scenes of alcohol fuelled despair amongst Lacke and Virginia's crowd. Brilliant). Blood drips, emotions are heightened: but there is no sense of this being pleasurably pornographic or romantic - even though certain scenes are sexually charged or achingly full of passionate sentiment. From the Prologue's pre-emptively chilling report of a removals man realising his role in the horrors to follow -

"He grimaced as if he has developed a revulsion for his own handwriting.

18 October: Norrkoping-Blackeberg (Stockholm).
He was the one who had moved them in."
- to the Epilogue's recounting of bloodied, headless boys and a child alone with a large trunk containing... this novel draws you in and holds you fast. The pages in between will present you with a narrative of the mortification of leaving childhood; bullying; love; the mutability of perceptions; disappointment in parents and adult role models; the realities of alcoholism; and myths of youth/age and vampirism. It will make you laugh at absurdities, stir fascinated revulsion, and cause you to cheer for the most unlikely of unheroic figures and actions. If you want there to be something more to your vampire novel than straight neck-biting and dark heroism, this will work for you; and if you don't like vampire tales but are drawn to bleak tales of alienation and human experiences then this will be for you too.

I can scarcely recommend this highly enough. Read it when you can.

Anna Says it all about Spaced

Genius girl.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lit Nerd Rules

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.

It's okay. I understand.

Social Nerd
Drama Nerd
Science/Math Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Anime Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quizzes for MySpace

Thanks to EineKleineRob!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Sorry for lack of blogs - work is manic, had a VERY good but hectic weekend and now our cat is poorly.

Its all a bit much really.

I've been reshuffled!

Thanks Paul!

After last year being Culture, Media and Sport/Scottish Secretary, I'm now shuffled to Minister without Portfolio/Scotland/Wales. Obviously a reflection of desire to close the Cardiff Torchwood office and relocate Capt Jack to the Tardis...

(something that is coming...)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

If you MUST buy Harry Potter, buy it from Crockatt and Powell

This is how all indie bookshops should proceed.

Buy your Harry Potter finale from C&P. You know it makes sense.

ITV Logic - the land that time forgot

Re: the belated shift of the ITV schedules last night:

You [ITV] land - for your opening salvo of a new series of a show long past its prime - an actor who can cause swoons and cheers just by turning up. He may work for 'the other side' but hey, even you can't be that cranky since he is, clearly, one of the current hot properties of TV-land. This should be a thing you want to work in your favour. You know, maximise your audience. Dare I say that is the purpose of choosing your guests?

You [ITV] probably really hate YouTube for posting copyrighted - yet never released on any formal format - interviews. Could we beat the sneaky young things who would scoop or limit our viewers by posting the interview within hours onto YouTube? Shall we scupper their efforts to video and then post our gem?

Cloud doubts that ITV would have thought it through enough to have shifted the timing of Parky featuring David Tennant just enough so that anyone who set a video would later discover they have missed the DT alone segment and are now lumbered with the interaction with other guest stars. [Although given that David Mitchell was also a guest it wasn't all bad].

Anyway, here's my thoughts.


I mean, seriously, ITV, do you just want to piss off your remaining audience? You have a shite reality music show (Grease is certainly NOT the word by all accounts) and you clearly cannot compete with Who. You get a chance to capture some of that audience by judicious scheduling of some Tennant Extra just as we will go two weeks before Who returns. And what do you do? You shift the schedule for no clear reason and with limited notice - there was a very grumpy announcement at the david-tennant.com fansite at 22.10 to say that they had just realised that Parky would be starting a full 15 mins ahead of schedule (and these are the folks who would have spotted if Teletext or Ceefax had clearly indicated a schedule change after the TV line-ups were printed in papers and weekly listings but before the programme schedule started).

Hmmm. Just spotted that highlights are apparently to come later to the Parky website. Harumph. I hope they get utterly stamped on by YouTuber users.

On the up side though, I actually caught part of the DT interview. See, despite Cloud hating Parky (ITV-Parky being even more sycophantically awful than it ever was in its BBC hey-day) he let me turn over to ITV during the evening. [It's not my favourite interview show either, though he can have some good guests]. Funnily, this was an instinctive action on my part, and with no regard to the clock - I couldn't see it [was DT sending me a psychic message to turn over? Why didn't he get me to have enough nouse to find a video??!]

Anyway, there is DT! I got to watch about 5 mins before an advert break came in during which time DT awkwardly basked in the heat of an audience dominated by swooning DT fans. He spoke of his initial hesitation for taking on the role of Who (the familiar tale of "Who am I kidding?! Of course I'll take it!") and gave some nice recollections of doing Casanova, including recalling the game gals who were trooped on to be filmed for the quick succession series of conquests that he had recounted to the attentive/disgusted Edith.

There was also a discussion of acting 'climaxes' which probably produced more wet seats amongst the audience at Parky than has ever been experienced there. Let's say that as exhilerating as that was to hear him talking about that I could have done without being in the position of watching it whilst sat next to Cloud. That would have worked so much better with me watching it on my own on video.... It'll be interesting if THAT is a bit that they highlight on the Parky website...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Come on Who Doubters, tell me truthfully what you thought of that...

Episode "The Lazarus Experiment"


Direction: tight, atmospheric

Doctor: only limitedly shouty, lots more poetry and culture refs, quiet sinister glaring. And glasses. Short of the desired licking, very good indeed

Rest of Cast: Martha should stick to trews - she does't look right running in a dress but nevertheless bosting supporting performances all round, especially Gattiss

Trailer: oh MY GOD!!!

If THAT doesn't wet your appetite (and btw I reiterate thank you for scheduling the Eurovision next week so I don't have to miss the next ep) and clearly you have no soul.

Quick Review: Punt and Dennis

I could just write: "Hilarious" but you'd probably be a bit disappointed with that?

Anyway, it was a VERY funny night, made even more lovely by running into my favourite Cud Fan. Hee. Very nice to see her again, even if her going to Glasto makes me V. jealous indeed. Still: we have the small but lovely Summer Sundae to look forward to.

So how funny were Punt and Dennis? Just brilliant actually. Hugh Dennis must be a real pain to 'straight man' to, since he clearly just loves to see how far he can push his mimes and physical comedy to wind up Steve Punt (even if that is a clearly defined act, it still works very well). And since reviewing comedy is always hard to capture let's just say that swans, YouGov and Poole Harbour will all subsequently induce random giggling in us.

A joy.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Too blooming busy - thank goodness for some comedy

Off to see Punt & Dennis tonight. After a long week - and with a social whirl of events this weekend (cinema, meal, Chesterfield) - I need the break.

If we opt for staying at home to tidy and garden tomorrow instead of trotting off to Leicester to see if Summer Sundae tickets are ready to collect yet, or Nottingham to book hotels for our trip to NZ (the LA bit), then I will most probably blog you tomorrow. If not, see ya on Sunday when I hope to come up for air in the blogosphere.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Remaking the TV schedules just for me

Apparantly with the Troubled Diva annual event of importance Eurovision Song Contest taking place next week, the episode originally scheduled for 12 May will now be shown the following week.

Two thoughts:

ONE: thank you BBC as I am off to London to the Donmar Warehouse to see "Kiss of the Spiderwoman" with my friend Lisette. Saves a whole load of video setting and Cloud hassling difficulty.

TWO: just how fucked off must Doctor Who magazine be getting with all these threatened and then actual pissing around with the schedules?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

1800 posts

"At three minutes and four seconds after 2 AM on the 6th of May this year, the time and date will be 02:03:04 05/06/07. This will never happen again"

Thanks to my lovely friend Rita for passing this on.

Except, as her friend Kathleen noted, "It happens many times if you can get to each time zone around the world an hour apart!"

Besides, am I gonna be up at 2am??? Even with a Bank Holiday the next day?

BTW this is my 1800th post.

Wasn't really worth it was it?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May 1st: May Day and Blogging Against Disablism Day

It's May Day.

You know what that's for. You know why it's important to remember. You also know where you could have a good day out on Monday (Chesterfield - scroll).

You may not also know that today is Blogging Against Disablism Day 2007.

I want to say more but it may have to wait till tonight, but safe to say you should read the entries logged at Diary of a Goldfish. I got there via Troubled Diva by the way.