Seafood platter: approximation of a playlist §20

22 07 2006

Seafood platter

(Being mainly crustaceans and the like)

Do the Clam – Elvis
Lobster in cleavage probe – Hatfield and the North
Shrimp – Mr Scruff

lobster

Crab Man – Ella Fitzgerald
Scampi girl – Men at C&A (crazy name, crazy band!)
Gigantic land crabs in earth takeover bid – Hatfield and the North (again)
Rock lobster – B52s
Pulling mussels from a shell – Squeeze
The tale of the oyster – Cole Porter
Crab – Weezer
The world is my oyster – Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Shrimp stories – Yo La Tengo
Rip van Winkle – The Devotions
Crawfish – Elvis





Nursery fun and games

21 07 2006

Book front cover

Title:
The Fourth Bear
Author:
Jasper Fforde
ISBN:
0340835710
Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

The Fourth Bear – Jasper fforde

OK, it’s kind of throwaway and a bit lightweight but on the other hand the two series of Fforde books really are pretty entertaining. The ‘Thursday Next’ books, which allow Fforde a braoder range of literary allusions, work better I think than the Nursery Crime series of which this is the latest instalment.

Still, it is a welcome addition to the list but if you’ve not read any of his stuff this would not be the best place to start.

(Note: Stars for entertainment value rather than pure literary merit.)





The Breakfast Club: approximation of a playlist §19

16 07 2006

The Breakfast Club – songs related to the best meal of the day

Breakfast in America – Supertramp
Breakfast at Tiffanys – Deep Blue Something
Black coffee in bed – Squeeze
Dear Sausage – The Mekons
Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps – Splodgenessabounds
Breakfast Time – Orange JuiceBreakfast
Bed and Breakfast Man – Madness
Breakfast in bed – Dusty Springfield
Blues for Breakfast – Mama Cass
Tea for two – Fats Waller (to pick one of many)
Lady Marmalade – Labelle
Cigarettes and alcohol – Oasis
Coffee and TV – Blur
England, Half English – Billy Bragg
Toast – Streetband
The Continental – Frank Sinatra
Broken English – Marianne Faithfull
Bread and butter – The Waitresses
Milk – Garbage
Orange crush – REM





Falling and not laughing

16 07 2006

Book front cover

Title:
The Fall (Penguin Modern Classics)
Author:
Albert Camus, Olivier Todd, Justin O'Brien
ISBN:
0141182024
Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

The Fall by Albert Camus

A short but extremely powerful book. It’s one of those I had been meaning to read for years but never quite got round to it. Jean–Baptiste Clamence, the ‘judge–penitent’, relates his recent reflections on life, existence and humanity to a chance acquaintance in an Amsterdam bar.

The monologue, despite its brevity and superficial directness contains an extraordinary range of ideas, built around a single incident on a Paris riverbank. The writing (and translation) is excellent and engaging and there is real depth here. I think it requires more than just one reading and must do so again soon.

Highly recommended.





The Gifted and Talented Solution?

11 07 2006

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/5166240.stm

It appears from Chris Woodhead’s comments to the BBC about the latest developments in gifted and talented education that the answer is…

Grammar Schools

That idea must have taken some time to arrive at.





Namesakes

11 07 2006

I always thought that with a name as odd as mine there would be little room for (Google–led) confusion. But there are others, including:

  • A US truck driver who gave a testimonial to his driving school.
  • A Canadian banker.
  • A Welsh rugby–playing schoolboy (OK that was 35 years ago according to the archive photo).
  • And, most disconcertingly, someone who writes reviews of various fantasy and science fiction books on Amazon.

I’m sure that they all get fed up with me as well.





A slightly dull dystopia

9 07 2006

Book front cover

Title:
Never Let Me Go
Author:
K. Ishiguru
ISBN:
0571224121
Rating:
2 out of 5 stars

Never let me go – Kazuo Ishiguro

I was slightly surprised that this one was actually on the 2005 Booker shortlist. It is very well written and the narrative does have a certain energy which pulls you along nicely, despite most of it being in recollective mode.

The three main problems with it though (and am trying to avoid giving too much away here) are that:

  • first, the central idea of Ishiguro’s “darkly skewed” version of contemporary England just isn’t terribly clever (it feels like a second–rate scifi notion);
  • the ‘real’ history behind the central shocking premise, which is only revealed to the protagonists at the end, is, unfortunately, somewhat of an anti–climax;
  • finally, despite the excellent writing and pace, it doesn’t, I feel, really live up its ambition to tell us something profound about the fragility of human existence.

So, a bit of a disappointment really.








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