Who ate all the Pi?

27 04 2010

Life of Pi by Yann Martell

From the Amazon review:

The plot, if that’s the right word, concerns the oceanic wanderings of a lost boy, the young and eager Piscine Patel of the title (Pi). After a colourful and loving upbringing in gorgeously-hued India, the Muslim-Christian-animistic Pi sets off for a fresh start in Canada. His blissful voyage is rudely interrupted when his boat is scuppered halfway across the Pacific, and he is forced to rough it in a lifeboat with a hyena, a monkey, a whingeing zebra and a tiger called Richard. That would be bad enough, but from here on things get weirder: the animals start slaughtering each other in a veritable frenzy of allegorical bloodlust, until Richard the tiger and Pi are left alone to wander the wastes of ocean, with plenty of time to ponder their fate, the cruelty of the gods, the best way to handle storms and the various different recipes for oothappam, scrapple and coconut yam kootu. The denouement is pleasantly neat.

It sounds like a pretty ludicrous proposition and one that would be hard to sustain over the course of a novel. However, it works and indeed is an outstandingly good yarn (hence the Booker win). And the explanation for the name of the tiger is just great. Highly recommended.

Advertisements




Rachel’s party playlist

25 04 2010

Rachel’s party playlist

The complete and unabridged playlist from Rachel’s 40th birthday party, including most (but not quite all) of the suggestions made by participants. We didn’t get through all of them but it was all jolly good fun nevertheless. Scroll down to the end for confirmation of the playlist rule. (With thanks to James for the pictures.)

Linger – The Cranberries
The Tears of a Clown – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic – The Police
Daydream Believer – The Monkees
No more heroes – The Stranglers
Oblivious – Aztec Camera
Don’t Come The Cowboy With Me Sonny Jim! – Kirsty MacColl
Only You – Yazoo
Build Me Up Buttercup – The Foundations
My ever changing moods – The Style Council
Last nite – The Strokes
Eagle – Abba
National Express – The Divine Comedy
Rubber Bullets – 10cc
Subterannean homesick blues – Bob Dylan
You’re gorgeous – Babybird
Oh yeah – Roxy Music
You Get What You Give – New Radicals
Rockferry – Duffy
Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush
Thunderball – Tom Jones
Handle With Care – Traveling Wilburys
Common people – Pulp
Groovy Train – The Farm

Beat It – Michael Jackson
California dreamin – The Mamas and the Papas
Acquiesce – Oasis
A Horse With No Name – America
Drive My Car – The Beatles
Same Jeans – The View
Let’s dance – David Bowie
These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ – Nancy Sinatra
Road To Nowhere – Talking Heads
Bitter sweet symphony – The Verve
Babies – Pulp
Roadrunner – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
I Love To Boogie – T.Rex
Oliver’s army – Elvis Costello
A design for life – Manic Street Preachers
The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkel
Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye – Bananarama
Rescue Me – Fontella Bass
Mercedes Benz – Janis Joplin
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher – Jackie Wilson
Fantastic day – Haircut 100
Why Does It Always Rain On Me? – Travis
Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Eurythmics
Back In The USSR – The Beatles
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones
I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) – Hall and Oates
Mr Brightside – The Killers
Tainted Love – Soft Cell
All day and all of the night – The Kinks
Atomic -Blondie
Daughter Loudon Wainwright III
Desire – U2
First of the gang to die – Morrissey
Perfect – Fairground Attraction
Sing it back – Moloko
I Only Want To Be With You – Dusty Springfield
Get It On – The Power Station
I’m In Love With a German Film Star The Passions
Needle in a Haystack The Velvelettes
Redemption song – Bob Marley and the Wailers
Geno – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Love my way – The Psychedelic Furs
Material Girl – Madonna
The boy done good- Billy Bragg
Vogue – Madonna
There she goes – The Las
Grease – Frankie Valli
A New England – Kirsty MacColl
Johnny Come Home – Fine Young Cannibals
I’m gonna be (500 miles) – The Proclaimers
Da Doo Ron Ron – Crystals
Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Yeh Yeh – Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames
I predict a riot – Kaiser Chiefs
Wake Up Boo! – The Boo Radleys
Your Love Alone Is Not Enough – Manic Street Preachers
Breakfast At Tiffany’s – Deep Blue Something
Anyone Who Had A Heart – Cilla Black
Rusholme ruffians – The Smiths
Paperback writer – The Beatles
It’s My Party – Lesley Gore
Is Vic There? – Department S
La Bamba – Los Lobos
Birthday – The Beatles
Heart Of Gold – Neil Young
New Sensation – INXS
I Should Have Known Better – The Beatles
The Whole Of The Moon – The Waterboys
Hands Off… She’s Mine – The Beat
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover – Paul Simon
The Night – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
What’s the frequency Kenneth? – REM
Road rage – Catatonia
Girls and boys – Blur
Making Plans For Nigel – XTC
Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
Mr Rock and Roll – Amy MacDonald
Staying Out For The Summer – Dodgy
Sweet Talkin’ Guy – The Chiffons
Spirit In The Sky – Doctor and the Medics
Candy’s Room – Bruce Springsteen
Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) – Cockney Rebel
Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
Life In Tokyo – Japan
Lola – The Kinks
The Lebanon – The Human League
You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
Cars – Gary Numan
Get Ready – The Temptations
Downtown – Petula Clark
Start Me Up – The Rolling Stones
Breakfast In America – Supertramp
Uptight (Everything’s Alright) – Stevie Wonder
Flowers On The Wall – Statler Brothers
Baby Love – Diana Ross and the Supremes
Loco In Acapulco – The Four Tops
Sweet Soul Music – Arthur Conley
Crash – Primitives
Too Much Too Young – The Specials
One Day Like This – Elbow
Alone Again Or – Calexico
Working My Way Back To You – Detroit Spinners
I Am The Walrus – The Beatles
Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
My Baby Just Cares For Me – Nina Simone
Baggy Trousers – Madness
Reach Out I’ll Be There – The Four Tops
Keep On Keeping On – The Redskins
Surf City – Jan and Dean
Living On The Ceiling – Blancmange
The Riverboat Song – Ocean Colour Scene
99 Red Balloons – Nena
It Ain’t What You Do It’s The Way That You Do It – Fun Boy Three And Bananarama
Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones
Respect – Aretha Franklin
When Smokey Sings – ABC
What Is Love? – Howard Jones
Losing my religion – REM
Orange crush – REM
Kids In America – Kim Wilde
Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick – Ian Dury and the Blockheads
The World Turned Upside Down – Billy Bragg
(There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me – Sandie Shaw
Borderline – Madonna
Suedehead – Morrissey
Life on Mars? – David Bowie
We Close Our Eyes – Go West
Comfortably Numb – Scissor Sisters
California Stars – Billy Bragg and Wilco
Stuck In The Middle With You – Stealers Wheel
Chelsea Dagger – The Fratellis
Echo Beach – Martha and the Muffins
Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Things can only get better – D:ream
Together in electric dreams – The Human League

Day Tripper – The Beatles
Mellow yellow – Donovan
Pop Muzik – M
Rehab – Amy Winehouse
In The Name Of Love – The Thompson Twins
Nowhere to Run – Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
You Keep Me Hangin’ On – The Supremes
Slave to the Rhythm – Grace Jones
Walking On Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves
Take On Me – a-Ha
Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart – Gene Pitney and Marc Almond
Cool for cats – Squeeze
Not So Manic Now – Dubstar
Love Is A Stranger – Eurythmics
Something In The Air – Thunderclap Newman
It’s Not Unusual – Tom Jones
Game of love – Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders
Two Of Us – Aimee Mann and Michael Penn
I’m a Believer – The Monkees
Baby please don’t go – Them
When Will I See You Again – The Three Degrees
Hand In Glove – The Smiths
Disco 2000 – Pulp
All Kinds Of Everything – Dana
Are You Gonna Be My Girl – JET
Temptation – Heaven 17
In The Summertime – Mungo Jerry
She’s Not There – The Zombies
Perfect day – Lou Reed
Don’t Leave Me This Way – Communards
Let’s Go Crazy – Prince
Maria – Blondie
Rock ‘n’ roll star – Oasis
Don’t Stand So Close to Me – The Police
Movin’ on up – Primal Scream
Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough – Michael Jackson
Rock ‘n’ Roll Is King – Electric Light Orchestra
Mr. Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan
Beat The Beat – Mari Wilson With The Wilsations
Don’t you want me – The Human League
Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon
Real gone kid – Deacon Blue
Band Of Gold – Freda Payne
Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds
No woman no cry – Bob Marley and the Wailers
Grounds For Divorce – Elbow
At the river – Groove Armada
That Old Black Magic – Louis Prima and Keely Smith
I Should Be So Lucky – Kylie Minogue
God only knows – The Beach Boys
Happy Birthday – Altered Images

And the rule, not to be broken, was as follows:





Thank you for the days

6 04 2010

One Day by David Nicholls

‘I can imagine you at forty,’ she said, a hint of malice in her voice. ‘I can picture it right now.’

He smiled without opening his eyes. ‘Go on then.’

15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways.

So where will they be on this one day next year?

And the year after that? And every year that follows?

Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY

‘It’s rare to find a novel which ranges over the recent past with such authority, and even rarer to find one in which the two leading characters are drawn with such solidity, such painful fidelity, to real life that you really do put the book down with the hallucinatory feeling that they’ve become as well known to you as your closest friends. Hard to imagine anyone encountering characters as well drawn as this and not recognizing the extraordinary talent of the writer who has created them.’ (Jonathan Coe, Guardian Books of the Year)

There are dozens of quotes just like this on the cover and on Amazon. Despite the fact that some of them are from individuals or journals you wouldn’t necessarily turn to for literary advice (eg Parsons, News of the World, Heat, Woman and Home) the novel really does deserve the plaudits. It is a terrifically engaging and moving story and, despite what looks like quite a contrived structure, it works brilliantly well. Very highly recommended.








%d bloggers like this: