Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Christmas Zeitgeist... one of angst, I think.
It's just that I have "carefully analysed" the Christmas cards sent to moi and The Old Man (that is... I have arranged them all round the room) and can see that just about every card has a traditional theme (and mucho glitter and sparkle). There is a whole mantelpiece full of Christmas Trees whilst most of the other cards display Robins, Snowmen, Snow Scenes, Nativities and the odd Christmas Pudding.

This year... the witty image-plays, whacky imagery and reproductions of paintings are gone .... No. It's a longing for a Cosy Christmas straight down the line. Aaah my dahlings... How unsafe we do feel in these times.

Bless you all, darlings... and a Happy New Year. We can do it!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

In Which Mrs D Do Calculate her Christmasiness

Mmm... must do.... must have....morning, mince pies, mulled wine, macaroons, maids-a-milking, merry merry, mistletoe, mayhem...

Friday, 20 December 2013

"The Wild Bride" - Kneehigh's Play on BBC Radio 4: 21st Dec

You must know that I am a great fan of Kneehigh Theatre Company... and that The Old Man and me do go to see their productions in Cornwall whenever we can. One production I do greatly enjoy is "The Wild Bride". Now they have adapted their play for radio. It will be broadcast tomorrow (Saturday 21st Dec) at 14.30 on BBC Radio 4 (Here for Kneehigh's page about recording it.)

Should be a great seasonal offering... though how the physicality, smoke, mirrors and sheer magic will get translated into word, sound and music... I do not know. But I shall be listening of course!

Kneehigh have already announced that their 2014 "Asylum" season will include their reworking of John Gay's "Beggar's Opera" entitled "Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs)" with music by Charles Hazlewood. That should be in September. Less good news for us is that they are moving their Asylum venue to Heligan Gardens ... which be a bit of a stretch for us Old'uns down here at the western tip of the land. But.....The Old Man has got his maps out. Maybe we can get there.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Grey Doll & Criminal Reading: Jakob Arjouni's "Brother Kemal"

Sometimes I catch a writer... tragically... with their last book. Last year it was Paul Sussman with his thrilling "Labyrinth Of Osiris" set in Egypt and Israel. (Read a review here.)

Recently I read German writer Jakob Arjouni's "Brother Kemal". It's the latest and sadly the last in the late writer's crime series featuring Turkish-German private eye Kemal Kayankaya as he walks the "mean streets" of Frankfurt. It is a tightly written, concise and flavourful thriller with a wry view which conjures up Chandler and his creation Marlowe. Arjouni wrote this series over a long period of time (because he wrote other things aside from Kemal) and there are four previous titles in the series. Publisher No Exit Press published all the titles last month by way of celebrating Arjouni's work.
Read a review of "Brother Kemal" over on the Euro Crime blog.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Rest In Peace "Ripper Street"

Would you believe it. The rotters have done it to me again. BBC1 appear to have cancelled their Victorian-Almost-Steam-Punk crime series "Ripper Street".
.....Which I have been greatly enjoying for its acting, its design and its historico-social plots (I am OK with the The Elephant Man putting in an appearance for an episode or two.. I do like that.) Their research has been good as far as I can see. One episode a while ago involved dastardly bomb plots...
and Mrs D have been a reference librarian in her time and do know that their mentioned incident involving Irish Nationalists having blown up the prison in Clerkenwell be accurate.
All in all I thought everything about this series was improving with age.

Dang! Why do they cancel intelligent, absorbing, entertainment? No wonder I do watch foreign crime drama on BBC4. Cannot the BBC get its programming act together?
The latest news is that there is some hope of a co-producer bringing it back via online viewing....
but once again mainstream decision-making do poke my viewing choices into some "Cult/Weird Fringe" class that be "not good value for licence payers".
Moi? I do pay my licence fee... and I'm tired of running around the digital channels to find something watchable. OK call me a grouch. I go on record as not liking Talent-Celebrity-Singing-Dancing shows.... but I do like "Ripper Street". Boo-Hoo.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Eating Cake...

I be remiss in posting to my blog.
What can I say? I been spending time eating a lot of cake.... cos that's the kind of girl I am.
And elbowing Mrs D out the way (she be lost in Christmas Panic) in order to do my own wrapping and sellotaping and scribblin' bad notes for Christmas cards.
Did you miss me?

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Grey Doll & Criminal Reading: Anne Holt's "Blessed Are Those Who Thirst"

I'm not sure... with books in translation ... how much the foreign language reader's experience is dictated by the translator and their translation. I mean... how do we know? Cos we can't read the original. Otherwise we would. Read the original, I mean.

With Norwegian writer Anne Holt  ... I have read or listened to three of her books so far. I liked them all. But some more than others. And each had a different translator and it has to be said that each "felt" as if it had a slightly different voice. In addition, the one that I listened to as an MP3 download was read by a clear but rather mannered narrator. So.... who is to know already how Holt "reads" to a Norwegian reader? Frustrating, ain't it.

Anyways I do read Anne Holt's second in her "Hanne Wilhelmsen" series ("Blessed Are Those Who Thirst") centred on Hanne, a woman detective in the Oslo Police. It was originally published in Norway in 1998. Er... that's fifteen years ago now. But its content and plot seem bang up to date in social context and concerns. A particularly bloody serial killer and a traumatic rape make up the core of Hanne's caseload and through it all we get to know Hanne and her colleagues better and the hostile climate they work in. (No...I don't mean snow and stuff... I mean public and management attitude.... Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, huh?)

Anne Holt is an important Scandinavian crime writer to try if you are a Nordic Noir fan.... and you can certainly read a more detailed review of this book over at Euro Crime.

Monday, 2 December 2013

In Which Mrs D Do Try To Imagine... Christmas

B is for.... Bells, Baubles, Berries, Brussel Sprouts, Brandy Butter, Best Frocks, Biscuits, Boxing Day, Burping, Bickering......