Three at Contemporary

30 07 2010

All three

Hester and Connie

30 07 2010

@Nottingham Contemporary

Turbulent Times

28 07 2010

Turbulence by Giles Foden

The D-day landings — the fate of 2.5 million men, 3000 landing craft and the entire future of Europe depends on the right weather conditions on the English Channel on a single day. A team of Allied scientists is charged with agreeing on an accurate forecast five days in advance. But is it even possible to predict the weather so far ahead? And what is the relationship between predictability and turbulence, one of the last great mysteries of modern physics? Wallace Ryman has devised a system that comprehends all of this — but he is a reclusive pacifist who stubbornly refuses to divulge his secrets. Henry Meadows, a young maths prodigy from the Met Office, is sent to Scotland to discover Ryman’s system and apply it to the Normandy landings. But turbulence proves more elusive than anyone could have imagined and events, like the weather, begin to spiral out of control.

A really great idea for a novel and a pretty good yarn to boot. Things do indeed spiral out of control but don’t think it is spoiling anything to say that D-Day still goes ahead successfully or that, if Foden is to be believed, there was an unfeasibly large number of US weather forecasters involved in preparations for the landings. The only things I found a little unconvincing were the accounts of the science – may all have been totally authentic (and wouldn’t have known if they weren’t) but just didn’t quite sound right. Well worth a read though.


22 07 2010

Before the Frost by Henning Mankell

In the dark forest near Ystad, a grisly find is made: human hands and a severed head, arranged in a grim mockery of prayer. A bible, seemingly heavily annotated by the killer is also found. But this is just one of series of bizarre incidents that have been taxing inspector Kurt Wallander: including domestic pets being attacked. Not a good time, in fact, for Wallander’s daughter Linda to make her debut as another detective on the force. But (needless to say) she soon gives her father a run for his money in identifying the criminals involved–a sinister group with biblical punishments on their unflinching agenda.

This is primarily about Linda rather than her father. The plot is a bit flaky and was never quite sure what the ultimate plot was actually about but the narrative is pretty strong and fairly steams along. Not one of his best but still rather good.

Mixed Fortunes

14 07 2010

East Fortune by James Runcie

As the author puts it on his website:

The novel begins with death but it ends with love; and, in the middle, I have tried to say something about family life. Families with sibling rivalries which are never quite expressed, families where sons are still treated as children by their parents – even if they are fifty years old; families in which things haven’t always turned out as people had either hoped or expected; families in which children are embarrassed by their parents but unsure what to make of their lives; families with secrets that some members know and others don’t; families where the same jokes are recycled every birthday and every Christmas.

The opening is a dramatic and sudden death but at heart this is a novel about families, sibling relationships, parental relationships and the dysfunctionalities which can be part of even the most seemingly happy family. I was drawn to this novel initially because of its setting (East Fortune is a village in East Lothian) but location is not particularly crucial here. Overall, it is an excellent read, a real page-turner and highly recommended.

Wonderland: Approximation of a playlist §48

6 07 2010

Songs and artists connected with Alice in Wonderland

Heartbreak Hotel -Elvis Presley
Rabbit – Chas ‘n’ Dave
Nice weather for ducks – Lemonjelly
Queen of the new year – Deacon Blue
Duchess – The Stranglers
King Of Pain – The Police
I Am The Walrus – The Beatles
Mousetrap – The Monochrome Set
The Lovecats – The Cure

Happy Jack – The Who
Can You Dig It? – The Mock Turtles
The Caterpillar – The Cure
Close To You – The Carpenters
Joe the lion – David Bowie
Get Ready – The Temptations
The humpty dumpty love song – Travis
Better Off Alone – DJ Jurgen Presents Alice Deejay
School’s Out – Alice Cooper
Mad Hatter – The Stranglers

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