Saturday, 19 April 2014

My Self Publishing Experience (so far!)

Having just self -published my children’s book Elemental on Amazon’s Kindle Direct I thought I’d chew a few thoughts on the whole thing.  It’s too early to say how beneficial or otherwise this will prove to be till the print version is available; and would you believe it’s being held up by the back cover!!? What it has done is get the book out into the public domain after more than a decade.

Thursday, 17 April 2014


So I seem to have self published a book!
A children's fantasy novel called Elemental is now available as a Kindle edition in Amazon's Kindle store. I'm currently spending enormous amounts of time formatting the print version though I think I am supposed to have done that first. Anyway here's the link, if it's not working search in Kindle Store for `Elemental` and it should be on the first page. I never knew there were so many books with the same title! The book is aimed at children -or to use Amazon's terminology- juveniles so is possibly not of much interest to readers of this blog and also you can only get it if you have a Kindle. If I can get the print version sorted then obviously it can be read the traditional way.

Friday, 11 April 2014

A View from the Bridge

Arthur Miller’s classic American play is back in Britain

In 1950s Brooklyn, longshoreman Eddie Carbone lives with wife Beatrice and her sister’s orphaned daughter Catherine to whom he has become a surrogate father that she looks up to. However the arrival of two illegal Italian immigrants to live in the house creates a tension when one of them starts romancing Catherine awakening feelings in Eddie that he won’t even admit to himself. He grows to resent the relationship but cannot really express that frustration properly. This version of the play, currently touring the UK has a cast who acquit themselves well yet there is a sense that the work itself no longer carries the same resonance especially here.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Top of the Pops 1979 - 29.3.79

Shown on BBC4
Review by Chris Arnsby

Mike Read. "It's Thursday. It's gripping. It's exciting. It's the latest episode of... Top of the Pops."
Chart music: Chic, I Want Your Love [6].

Racey: Some Girls [34]. The scenery is all back. There must have been a dispute at the BBC last week. Also back is Racey although this song isn't anywhere near as much fun as Lay Your Love on Me. Four members of Legs & Co invade the stage during the instrumental to dance with Racey's lead singer. It's not clear if Legs & Co represent the girls who do, or don't.
Racey: They all had bad back problems on this day.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Madness - Take It Or Leave It

Originally released 1981
Directed  by Dave Robinson

The origins of one of the 1980s best British groups- as played by Madness themselves.

You suspect that the formation and initial career of well- known groups is never as melodramatic as even the most down to earth biopic or documentary will suggest but in 1981 Madness took part in a film of their origins which somehow manages to understate matters. By the time Take It or Leave It was filmed they already had several memorable hit singles and were on their way to becoming one of the early 1980s’ most successful British pop groups but none of this features in the film. Instead they attempt to re-create the band’s formation and early days four or five years earlier using actual locations and themselves rather than anything like sets or actors. The results are best described as authentic.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Top of the Pops 1979 - 15.3.79

Shown on BBC4 
Review: Chris Arnsby
Peter Powell. "Turn the volume up! Turn the music up! Because it's Top of the Pops with the chart run down and Players Association!"
Chart music: The Players Association, Turn The Music Up [25]

The Jam: Strange Town [30]. Top of the Pops has a new look presumably courtesy of Roger Cann (he's credited with design); he also worked on the Doctor Who story Nightmare of Eden, and Eastenders, Kenny Everett, and an episode of Bergerac called The Deadly Virus which sounds exciting. The Jam perform in front of a black background and pulsing green lights. It looks ace and just as you think it can't get better the vision mixer makes the screen go negative and everything turns white and purple.

The Jam are not very impressed with the strange town

Monday, 31 March 2014

The Musketeers final two episodes of season 1

Episodes 9 and 10 of the first season of the BBC’s take on the Alexander Dumas classic.

In a way all the odds have been against The Musketeers from the presence of a recent unsuccessful film adaptation to its bizarre 9pm Sunday night timeslot plus the fact that the actor playing its primary antagonist will be indisposed for a second season. Typically the finale then has to go head to head with ITV’s returning Endeavour. Yet the series has, if not triumphed, then certainly thrived strongly with a growing sense that it has developed far faster than other comparable shows such as Merlin or Robin Hood. Perhaps the later timeslot has allowed The Musketeers a little more freedom to push some boundaries and rely on a darker sensibility though it has never quire justified the scheduling. Despite stellar ratings for the opening episode almost halving as the run progressed and a mixed critical reaction nobody can surely argue with the fact that the series has found its sense of direction. Though some of the plots are a little wobbly the whole package is fast, fun and feisty. Unlike some other series The Musketeers is never still long enough to be dull, it is always enlivened by excellent set pieces and the standard of acting is consistently high with, crucially, no weak links amongst the regulars. Though occasionally the writers seem to struggle to come up with believable plots where they do score highly is in characters that make an impact sometimes in a relatively short amount of screen time. Particularly pleasing aspects include far more proactive female characters than we might expect, villains that really mean business and a sense of place, however fictional that place may actually be. Put it on at 7.30pm on a Saturday and you’d have an even bigger hit.
"You're stuck aren't you?"