McX: A Romance of the Dour by Todd McEwen

bookshelves: paper-read, one-penny-wonder, published-1991, britain-scotland, fife, palate-cleanser, amusing, summer-2014, tbr-busting-2014, teh-demon-booze, racism, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, giftee

Read from March 04 to June 27, 2014

 

Description: A fretful inspector of weights and measures, McX is unhealthy, unsightly, unloved and, to top it all, he comes from Fife. His grim existence centres on the Auld Licht, a dank, maloderous public house haunted by the dank, maloderous and dreadful McPint; a man unstintingly devoted to beer, peanuts and pornography. McX, meanwhile, dreams of fair women and requited love in a rural idyll – a Scotland without rain, without repression, and without McPint. He resolves, quite simply, to escape.

Little know you of the hearts
I have hidden here. Hogg

Opening: Consider a long and famous river, it teems with salmon and story. Winds majestic through the most various of Scottish shires. Where it passes under several bridges and reflects a suggestion of Georgian elegance, sad tales begin.

Although this was published in 1991 it does read like an out-in-the-sticks 70s offering, I’m sure that the hugely offensive terms ‘wogs’ and ‘niggers’ had long been shown the door by everybody else’s 1990s.

Take no notice of the Aberdeen-esque chunterings from other dour reviewers, this is ladishly pithy, gloomily pawky, and a fat satirical prod at lowlanders in general and Fifers in particular: I’m sure Ian Rankin would have had a chuckle.

The sun is known in Scotland, but chiefly through myth and legend.[..] Appearance of chicken flesh at the first jerk of the thermometer: Scots in the sun. What need to brown yourselves? You’ll be roasting in Hell soon enough. Page 103

Good enough as a palate-cleanser.

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The Private Journals of Edvard Munch: We Are Flames Which Pour Out of the Earth by Edvard Munch

Recommended for: Don, Laura, Susanna, Fionnuala
Read on May 29, 2014

Watch the Full Film (3:32:03)

La Belle Epoch Norwegian style.

From wiki: Hans Henrik Jæger (2 September 1854, Drammen, Norway – 8 February 1910, Oslo) was a Norwegian writer, philosopher and anarchist political activist who was part of the Oslo (then Kristiania) based bohemian group Kristianiabohêmen. He was prosecuted for his book Fra Kristiania-bohêmen and convicted to 60 days’ imprisonment in a supreme court ruling in 1886. He and other bohemians tried to live by the nine commandments Jæger had formulated in the Fra Kristiania-bohêmen.

The following year, he was forced to flee Norway. He had been sentenced to 150 more days in prison after the Norwegian government learned that he had sent 300 copies of Fra Kristiania-bohêmen to Sweden under the auspices of a volume of Christmas stories. He was a friend of Edvard Munch, and was the subject of one of Munch’s paintings.

And so to Paris…

And now Berlin, where he meets up with August Strindberg

Dagny Juel-Przybyszewska (8 June 1867 – 5 June 1901) was a Norwegian writer, famous for her liaisons with various prominent artists, and for the dramatic circumstances of her death. She was the model for some of Edvard Munch’s paintings. She had relationships with Munch and briefly with August Strindberg. In 1893, she married the Polish writer Stanisław Przybyszewski. Together they had two children. She was shot by a young lover in a hotel room in Tbilisi in 1901, three days before her thirty-fourth birthday. See also The Legs of Izolda Morgan

How I feel for you, Munch, what with your poor health and existential angst.

We Will Destroy Your Planet

bookshelves: net-galley, how-to, published-2013, little-green-men, amusing, spring-2014, e-book, ipad, sci-fi, war, weapon-evolution, under-20, tongue-firmly-in-cheek, palate-cleanser

Read from April 08 to 09, 2014


Osprey Publishing

Description: Enjoy this pseudo-nonfiction, ‘how-to’ military handbook for aliens intending to conquer the Earth. Science fiction elements are satirized and then connected to real-world science, history, and military technique to show how it should be done.

It goes without saying that any military campaign must be planned in ways depending upon some basic factors: The logistics of where your enemy is in relation to your own forces, environmental factors, and, most importantly, ‘why’ you’re fighting this campaign. This book intends to take these basic factors, and apply them to the purpose of conquering the planet known to the natives as Earth.

There are, of course, many possible reasons for launching a military campaign against such a planet. The form of your campaign, and the formation of its strategic and tactical policies will very much depend on your reason. Obviously the campaign to destroy all sentient life on a planetary surface will be very different in character to a campaign to, say, bring the local population into the fold of your empire or federation – and, frankly, a lot simpler.

Once the reason for conquest, or destruction, has been determined, the book will take a step-by-step approach to the best way to annihilate humanities resistance and bring them to their knees.

Opening to the introduction: Thank you for choosing planet Earth as your conquest target of choice. The local sentient population has long considered it to be a worthy destination for travellers from other planets, alternate dimensions and future timelines.

Maybe it would be good to refresh on just where this target of choice lies in the Milky Way.

However, if Sitchin is right about Niburu, the solar system really works in quite a different way and that could prove quite an obstinate obstacle to wannabee overlords’ invasion tactics.

[Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That’s orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it’s reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the ‘Milky Way’.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It’s a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it’s just three thousand light years wide.
We’re thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go ’round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that’s the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space,
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth.
(hide spoiler)]

I am now convinced that there are hordes gathering on the Dark Side of the Moon ready to start a War of the Worlds

The chances of anything coming from Mars
Are a million to one, he said (ahh, ahh)
The chances of anything coming from Mars
Are a million to one, but still, they come…

This short book is cram-packed with facts about dimensions, speeds, girths etc. and combined with such an amusing premise I fail to see how it has been so badly overlooked by gift purchasers, powder-room librarians, mums with teenagers.

[

(hide spoiler)]

Uneasy Money by P G Wodehouse

Uneasy Money - P. G. Wodehouse

bookshelves: published-1916, fraudio, filthy-lucre, spring-2014, tbr-busting-2014, palate-cleanser, amusing

Read from March 07 to 10, 2014

 

Nigel Lambert as Narrator.

Description: These are strange times for the English aristocracy. When hard-up William Fitz William Delamere Chalmers, Lord Dawlish – otherwise known as Bill – sets off for America to make a fortune, he does not expect to be left one by an American millionaire with whom he strikes up a passing acquaintance. Honour demands that Bill Dawlish should restore this unexpected windfall to the rightful heirs, but this involves him in complicated adventures with greedy relations, haughty dowagers, dogs, chickens and an angry monkey. Calm is eventually restored but not before Bill has met the woman of his dreams and married her in the church on Fifth Avenue.

3* The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves, #2)
5* Carry on, Jeeves (Jeeves, #3)
4* Right Ho, Jeeves (Jeeves, #6)
4* Jeeves in the Morning (Jeeves, #8)
3* The Mating Season (Jeeves, #9)
4* Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen (Jeeves, #15)
4* Something Fresh (Blandings Castle, #1)
TR Leave It to Psmith (Psmith, #4 ; Blandings Castle, #2)
3* Service with a Smile (Blandings Castle, #9)
TR The Man With Two Left Feet
4* A Damsel In Distress
3* Love Among the Chickens
3* Uneasy Money
3* Summer Moonshine
4* Joy in the Morning
3* Summer Lightning
3* Service with a Smile
3* The Small Bachelor
TR Barmy in Wonderland
3* Eggs, Beans and Crumpets
3* Uncle Fred in the Springtime (Blandings Castle, #6)
4* Right Ho, Jeeves (Jeeves, #6)
3* Summer Lightning (Blandings Castle, #4)

 

 

Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington

bookshelves: published-2013, spring-2014, biography, music, nonfiction, north-americas, fraudio, palate-cleanser, history, under-100-ratings

Read from February 23 to March 06, 2014

Read by Peter Francis James
Unabridged edition 2013 | 17 hours and 43 minutes

A major new biography of Duke Ellington from the acclaimed author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong.

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Description: Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the twentieth century – and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. The grandson of a slave, he dropped out of high school to become one of the world’s most famous musicians, a showman of incomparable suavity who was as comfortable in Carnegie Hall as in the nightclubs where he honed his style. He wrote some fifteen hundred compositions, many of which, like “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady,” remain beloved standards, and he sought inspiration in an endless string of transient lovers, concealing his inner self behind a smiling mask of flowery language and ironic charm. As the biographer of Louis Armstrong, Terry Teachout is uniquely qualified to tell the story of the public and private lives of Duke Ellington. Duke peels away countless layers of Ellington’s evasion and public deception to tell the unvarnished truth about the creative genius who inspired Miles Davis to say, “All the musicians should get together one certain day and get down on their knees and thank Duke.”

Does anyone else remember the Jazz Club se(le)ctions within the Fast Show? You do? NICE!

Black, Brown and Beige – D.Ellington.

Ellington doesn’t seem to have been a very nice man, but that said, why should we worry over whether he was affable or not. We do not have to personally like our authors, artists or peers, instead we judge the work that they produce.

Teachout is masterful here, showcasing the exciting history of black music in America. Well worth the read, or in my case, the listen.

50 Ellington songs

4*

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The Horns of the Buffalo

bookshelves: winter-20132014, tbr-busting-2014, published-2004, fraudio, historical-fiction, under-100-ratings, afr-s-africa, britain-wales, first-in-series, newtome-author, victoriana, series, palate-cleanser

Read from February 13 to 14, 2014

Book………………The Horns of the Buffalo
Author…………….John Wilcox
Series…………….Simon Fonthill
No………………..01
Narrator…………..Graham Padden
Abr/Unabr………….Unabridged
Genre……………..Adventure
Source…………….20 Tapes

COVER BLURBS:In 1879, the British redcoats are universally regarded as the finest fighting force in the world. Among them is Lieutenant Simon Fonthill, dispatched to South Africa with much to prove: for Colonel Covington, his former Commanding Officer, has slanderously branded him a coward. In the Cape, tension is high. The Zulus, an independent nation of magnificently militant tribesmen, threaten the colonial government’s vision of a united South Africa. And Simon has been chosen for a particularly dangerous mission: to travel deep into Zululand to discover the intentions of the king. Simon encounters violence and imprisonment before he is faced with his greatest challenge. Escaping from the massacre at the Battle of Isandlwana, he must warn the tiny garrison at Rorke’s Drift of the threat posed by advancing Zulu impis. He has a chance to prove Covington a liar, but he may pay the ultimate price.

About The Author: John Wilcox. An inability to do sums and a nascent talent to string words together steered me towards journalism – that and the desire to wear a trenchcoat, belted with a knot, just like Bogart.

About The Reader: Graham Padden. Graham’s work on screen includes Doctor Who, Casualty, The Kindness of Strangers, Why We Went to War, Derailed, Casanova. He has been heard in many radio dramas, including David Edgar’s Playing with Fire, Lorna Doone, Blake’s 7, and The Archers. He has recorded 60 audio books. He has had 3 plays produced.

A story of Rourke’s Drift. Excellent writing, lovely narration and I especially liked 352 Jenkins.

3* The Horns of the Buffalo

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