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No Time to Die

Published November 19, 2021

No Time to Die

I’ve been excited about this for too long, the many, many delays and the big hype about it returning to the cinema when plenty of people still don’t feel comfortable about sitting in dark rooms with lots of strangers, all of which were somehow both frustrating but also just adding to my expectations. Firstly, it’s important to say, this is a better movie than Spectre. I don’t remember a lot about Spectre, only that it didn’t live up to Skyfall, and I wish I’d known this was going to carry on with a lot of the same characters, as I would have rewatched ahead of time.

Completely Staged by Simon Evans and Phin Glynn

Published November 19, 2021

Completely Staged by Simon Evans and Phin Glynn

I’m a big fan of script books, particularly when it’s something I’ve loved and admired, and that is Staged through and through. One of the few wonderful things that came out of lockdown, Staged became a huge hit and instantly lodged itself in our collective consciousness. This book is simply the scripts, laid out so neatly, with additional notes and scribbles and even a crossword. It’s nice to re-live it again in a different format, although it did just make me want to go back and watch the show again, so I could be stuck in an endless loop from this point forward. I wouldn’t complain!

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

Published November 17, 2021

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

This is a really simple book with only a marginal story to actually tell but where it shines is in the descriptions and characters. It reminded me very much of Elizabeth Strout, where the characters movements and thoughts and day to day living are the priority. At heart, it’s a story about tribalism, about trying to break down some village walls (not literally) and sadly not being able to do so. It’s kind of sad, but didn’t leave me feeling maudlin, so that’s something.

Strictly Come Dancing 2021, Week 8 thoughts

Published November 16, 2021

Strictly Come Dancing 2021, Week 8 thoughts

Just your regularly scheduled week this time, with plenty of excitement building up to musicals week next time out. My only thought from the intro sequence is to pity the colour balancing people, Motsi’s dress was something else entirely. On with the show, predictions this week have to return to Dan, unfortunately, and perhaps Tilly following last week. Talking of which, Tilly opened the show! Tilly & Nikita - Quickstep Nice concept, I thought the dance was a bit kicky, and I was really concerned that she was going to trip over her own or Nikita’s feet, which suggests it wasn’t as smooth as you might like.

End to End by Alistair McGuinness

Published November 16, 2021

End to End by Alistair McGuinness

The story of an adventure cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats, a journey that many have undertaken but only a handful of written about. I loved the writing in this book, the day to day adventure which was about more than just cycling - it was about how the journey affected the riders, with various snippets of information about a few of the places passed along the way.

Rearview Town by Jason Aldean

Published November 14, 2021

Rearview Town by Jason Aldean

Wahey, it’s been a while since I listened to some good country music and that’s exactly what this is - good, solid, modern country pop stacked with guitars and whiskey and broken hearts and wayward lovers. The stand out track is clearly the Miranda Lambert enhanced Drowns the Whiskey, and whilst the rest of it may not stand out on its own, as a whole, it’s a really good listen for country music fans.

Voyage by ABBA

Published November 14, 2021

Voyage by ABBA

It’s a really odd experience listening to new music from Abba, when they are clearly a band from decades ago and honestly haven’t changed their sound at all. But it’s not a bad thing. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster of an album, dipping into many different genres, mixing up the tempos, and filled with optimism in places alongside what appears to be the depths of despair. A few tracks have stuck with me, including the lead song I Still Have Faith With You, but also Keep An Eye On Dan, which really feels like something we’ve not really heard before. They paint good pictures and keep up the interest, almost storyteller-like, I want to know what happens next. Good stuff!

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

Published November 14, 2021

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

This felt like a stiff and stilted read, and I was tempted to give up halfway through but then it took a turn I wasn’t expecting at all, and I just had to see how it all played out. At heart it’s the traditional story of highly strung mother disliking the new girlfriend, but it goes so much deeper and darker than that! Twists and turns along the way, and some hair-raising moments, but ultimately an intriguing ride to the end.

Morning Frost by James Henry

Published November 13, 2021

Morning Frost by James Henry

I’ve still got mixed feelings about these sequel/prequel Detective Frost books, written to follow the six original R. D. Wingfield novels. They don’t quite have the same feel to them, but it’s nice to dip into this world every now and then. There was a lot more personal stuff in this one, as it kicks off with the funeral of Frost’s wife, and deals with a lot of the fallout from that. Also his colleagues are having their own issues… I was confused about Simms, because there was that prequel problem of it not fitting with what I know from the original series… but that was resolved quite quickly, so no complaints.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Published November 12, 2021

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The length of the title of this film made me nervous, but I shouldn’t have been because it’s a top notch Marvel movie, and a great set of new characters to get on board with. I enjoyed it, and particularly liked the fact our main two protagonists were friends from start to finish. There were a few questions on some of the plot points but nothing so irritating to ruin the story.