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David Nolan (dsc73277)
North West England
Interests: Books, fiction, history, open spaces, countryside, Lake District, BBC Radio 4, radio, audiobooks, radio drama, Victorian Britain, 19th century, Victorian politics
Recent Activity
I caught up with this most entertaining episode today. Based solely on the evidence as you presented it (note to future jury members - that is how you are supposed to do it), I vote A. I did enjoy the various Elvis related comments above. If the poker thing is true, Ed II will have been more than simply "All Shook Up", indeed, "Come on baby light my fire" might be the most apt song for that scenario.
Hee, hee. Very good. Puns to one side, I do like the way that you feature fact alongside fiction in your reviews.
I am sure the authors will welcome the "exposure" for the book provided by your forthcoming review. I'm afraid I couldn't resist that pun.
A good tribute. I find it so much easier to admire great musicians (or people considered "great" in any field) when they also seem to be admirable human beings. When I heard the news about Sir Colin Davis, this morning, one of the things that popped into my mind was your blog post about the most recent occasion when you attended a Prom under his direction.
Toggle Commented Apr 15, 2013 on Sir Colin Davis RIP at Random Jottings
Are grown men allowed to have crushes on characters in books, as I suggested when referencing this blog post over on Jo's blog? (
Toggle Commented Feb 7, 2013 on A literary crush at Cornflower Books
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I wholeheartedly endorse your opinion of the Serailler books. The crimes are almost secondary to what has become an excellent family saga. The TV adaptation seems to have been a long time in development. I fear it might spoil the books for me, particularly if they follow the Inspector Lynley approach and begin to divert quite sharply from the original.
Toggle Commented Jan 30, 2013 on Crime - two good reads at Random Jottings
I love some of the answers you have received so far. One of the things I am waiting for is a William Boyd book with a satisfying ending. I've only read a couple so far, Restless (2007) and Ordinary Thunderstorms (2009). Both had me gripped, both seemed to promise much, and yet both ultimately left we wondering what the point of it all was. Yes, I know real life is like that. I don't always expect a Jane Austen style happy ending, but I do like some sort of resolution, even if it is only in the form of a series of questions or possibilities.
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For my own part I think there is room on our screens for both the presenter-led approach that irritates you so much and for the traditional documentary approach employed in "Victoria's Children". Each to his or her own. As you say, this series did not paint Victoria in a very good light. Her own difficult childhood was cited in her defence, but they failed to mention that her attitude towards babies and children was probably fairly typical among the upper classes
Sorry to hear about the trials and tribulations of your week, but I did like your supermarket story given that it had a happy ending in keeping with the true spirt of the season. Get well soon and have a fantastic Christmas and New Year.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2012 on Random Saturday at Random Jottings
When you mentioned that Edward's first Parliament comprised over 800 members, I thought it might be interesting (or at least diverting) to see how that compares with the present day. If we take the population of England to be around 5 million in the late thirteenth century and divide that figure by 800, we can calculate that there was one member of Parliament for every 6250 English people. In 2012, counting both Houses of Parliament, the equivalent figure is one member (including peers) for every 35,600 English residents (based on an English population of circa 52 million, compared with 650 MPs and 811 members of the upper house).
Toggle Commented Dec 20, 2012 on 77 Reconstruction at The History of England
At the time I merely thought it was mediocre, but it seems that, for lovers of the book, it was far worse. Thanks for an informative soap box session.
I agree that 'Alys, Always' is "a novel of skill, elegance and flair" that is probably what kept me going, despite my dislike of the characters. I look forward to Harriet Lane's undoubted talent being deployed to tell a story of a group of people I can actually bring myself to care for.
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"If this is the best level of analysis the pro-critic can manage, no wonder they're being left behind." Hear, hear. The paragraph you quote sounds bitter and angry: just like online comment at its worst. This supposedly intelligent critic resorts to the noun "shit" twice in the space of a single line. Perhaps, in his opinion, when someone on the street uses such language he is "a wastrel" but when used by the right sort critic it is a mark of intellectual freedom?
Toggle Commented Dec 1, 2012 on A Cacophony of Gabble at Juxtabook
Mike Walker is an excellent radio dramatist. Those with an interest in the Nineteenth Century may well enjoy his fictional series about Charles Dickens as a newspaper editor, Dickens Confidential. Plus, in 1997, he co-wrote a memorable adaptation of Tolstoy's War and Peace that starred Simon Russell Beale. Both are available from Audible and other audio outlets.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2012 on Audio Bookshop at The History of England
Didn't bore me at all. I don't really follow any sport, but I have a soft-spot for cricket because it seems so wonderfully English; it's not so much a game as part of the national character. What a shame that, by your account, it's authorities are not representing the best of that character, surely that's just "not cricket"? I have a very low tolerance of bad behaviour in the workplace, and despite being a user of Twitter and other social media I have deep reservations about the potential such outlets have for harming rather than enhancing our human relationships, however, I also loathe double standards. What a pity. I was also interested to read your description of KP as "self-obsessed and insecure" and "probably ... arrogant". The middle adjective in that set originally struck me as at odds with the others, but thinking about it I suppose it is perfectly possible that a perception of arrogance might result from insecurity and insecurity might arise from self-obsession. What an instructive read this turned out to be. I nearly missed out. As you know, I defend your right to rant on your own blog, but I normally exercise my own right not to read them! In future I'll know not necessarily to skip posts with "rant" in the title.
Amused by your Isle of Wight idea, I couldn't help thinking that it must by now be the setting for a crime series. Sure enough, I discovered Pauline Rowson's series set in and around the Isle of Wight and the wider Solent area. Her detective is described on her website as the "flawed and rugged DI Andy Horton". So far, so formulaic, by the sound of things. Though I must admit I am tempted to give one a try, even if it does not sound anything like as amusing as your idea. Perhaps you should write yours and release it as an ebook?
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2012 on New Kid on the Rock at Random Jottings
At least devoting BBC One entirely to the Olympics will avoid farsical last-minute schedule changes across two channels. Plus, there's not much to miss on One, especially in August. Although I note - over-running tennis and grand prix permitting - that the good, if very noir, Wallander is back on Beeb One tonight. Incidentally, I think you might enjoy this piece from the Dabbler blog which describes BBC One as "a special TV channel dedicated to what the elite thinks commoners like to watch." I decided to watch the first half of Henry IV and save the rest for later in the week. I must admit I had found Richard II rather heavy going. By contrast, what I have seen of Henry IV was utterly superb. They appear to have made a deliberate decision to make the blank verse sound as natural as possible, making it sound less like a poetry recital and more like drama. This is something I much prefer. I also liked the way they took advantage of the medium, to allow for different levels of voice where appropriate, rather than having to project everything in the way theatre demands. There is much more humour in Henry IV Part One than Richard II. A lot of it is of a bawdy nature and does not really appeal to me. If the viewer is as inebriated as Hal and Poins then perhaps one may find their taunting of Francis, the serving man, to be hilarious; sober it can seem poor comedy. To be fair to the producers, and indeed to the Bard, it takes a lot to make me laugh. Getting comedy right is not easy. To write humour that still works for many audiences after four hundred years is no mean achievement. In the hands of this cast, it entertained rather than irritated, even if I was not laughing out loud. Falstaff is a character I am never going to love, but the superb Simon Russell Beale, succeeded in making me as sympathetic to the fat, old drunkard as I am ever likely to be. You have a treat in store when you get around to watching this production.
Barbara, don't start with Pickwick is exactly what I was thinking. It has always defeated me.
Toggle Commented Jul 7, 2012 on What Dickens did at Cornflower Books
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Sorry to hear you've been feeling a bit low, I hope your holiday serves as a fillip. Have a good time.
Toggle Commented Jun 10, 2012 on Random Holiday at Random Jottings
"Nothing will go wrong": apart from the weather, of course! Part of the trick is not letting on when things do go wrong, as for example, during the coronation of George VI when the Archbishop of Canterbury had trouble finding the front of the crown. It is very difficult to find the front, so they had tied on a tiny thread to indicate it. Unfortunately, an over-zealous cleaner or official had removed it just before the ceremony began. The result was a rather confused archbishop, turning the crown in his hands, desperately searching for the missing thread. If someone holding the item could not find the front, I wonder why they were so bothered in the first place. Who was going to notice? Enjoy the festivities.
Toggle Commented Jun 3, 2012 on Jubilee Weekend at Random Jottings
Good work Zack. Battlefield history has never been my thing, so I enjoyed the background and before and after sections most. The half hour seemed to zip by, so you must be getting something right. I'm afraid I can't "like" you on Facebook as I refuse to sign-up with them. I have, however, added your site to Stumble Upon. If you are thinking of doing an episode on Napoleon versus Russia, you might like to watch/listen to this brilliant LSE lecture podcast by Professor Dominic Lieven
"They will have all the beauty of a hardback with the ease-of-read – and price – of a trade paperback" - I like the sound of that. It now seems quite widely accepted that paper books are likely to become more collectable in order to thrive in the digital age. Many commentators seem to think it is the traditional paperback that will be killed-off by the ebook, with the hardcover book surviving as the collectable edition. I am pleased to see that Bloomsbury at least, think there should be a place for better quality paperbacks. Bloomsbury are in my good books (pardon the pun) at present, having published James Runcie's Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death. Not, as the title may suggest, an homage to a best selling boy wizard, but an old-fashioned, gentle mystery featuring a sleuthing-vicar in 1950s Granchester. It takes the form of a series of short stories, rather than a single novel length "case". A good, light read.
Toggle Commented May 31, 2012 on Publishers - New Imprints at Random Jottings
No Elaine, you musn't "shut up". This is your blog so, when the mood takes you, you should use it to unburden yourself of these minor (in the grand scheme of things) irritations. Thank you for extending a courteous welcome to those of us who might wish, from time to time, to express a slightly different view about some of the issues you raise. I'm afraid I'm with Margaret in liking LW's enthusiasm, though I've not been watching the latest series that you and Margaret refer to.
I tend to be a bit more forgiving about the fads of television producers than you are, Elaine. Maybe I just have lower expectations of the medium? This may be connected with the fact that I only tend to watch television as late evening entertainment. I tend to be satisfied if it keeps me amused for an hour or so, telling me a few things I did not already know, but neither disturbing me or forcing me to think too hard. The trouble is television, as its name implies, is primarily a visual medium. That poses a real problem for anyone making TV documentaries on historical subjects prior to, and even well into, the twentieth century. I would rather have actors illustrating history documentaries than shots of modern crowds in shopping malls, presenters driving around, or presenters sat on trains - other current leitmotifs of the genre. (I'm amazed they nearly always seem to get a seat on trains.) Whatever images are used can be distracting - even if it's just A J P Taylor talking to a camera. Whenever I see talking heads on TV I inevitably end up musing about what the individuals are wearing or how much of a double-chin they have. To adapt an old phrase, it's not so much that the pictures are better on radio, as radio being better precisely because it doesn't have pictures. (That's one reason I'm not a fan of the Today webcam - leave pictures for television.) Reservations aside, the Edward VIII documentary told a very interesting tale. I knew that he was plotted against, but until I saw this programme I was unaware just how central a role the Archbishop of Canterbury played in the machinations. Trollope sprang to my mind too.