Showing posts from 2012

Happy Holidays 2012!

Wishing everyone a Merry Yule/Christmas/Hanukkah and a Happy New Year - or, as we say in Swedish, God Jul och Gott Nytt År! Hope you have a great holiday, regardless of denomination. :) In Sweden, we had our Christmas celebrations yesterday, but it's still a time to see the family and enjoy the season. Hopefully the snow sticks around until tomorrow!

Swedish Ways: Da'n före doppareda'n

December 23 is to Swedes what December 24 is to everyone who celebrate Christmas on the 25th: it's The Day Before. We have our julfirande on the 24th, so the day before it's done in places like the UK. As a Swede living in Britain, treating the 24th as, well, the 23rd is treated back home, is very strange indeed. If I work for a British company and spend Christmas in the UK, I have to book the day off if it falls on a weekday, because otherwise, you're expected to work. How can I be at work when I'm supposed to be celebrating Christmas?! Anyway, more about a Swedish Christmas tomorrow. Today, we light the fourth and final candle in the Advent chandelier, eat the penultimate chocolate in the calendar, watch the penultimate episode of the TV calendar, and prepare for tomorrow. This generally means starting to prepare food. I meant to write this post earlier in the day, but I was busy preparing food, see. ;)

Swedish Ways: Lucia

I recently realised that there are certain times of year when I miss Sweden more than others, namely December. "But we have things leading up to Christmas here too!" said the Squeeze, not at all understanding there's a big difference. Yes, I can certainly light candles for Advent here too, that's not an issue. I can also make the same kind of home-made candy, and most of the Christmas food I like I can make in Britain too. But it's still not the same. Not just because it's warmer here and less chance of snow. Things like waiting for someone to burn down the big straw goat in Gävle (newspapers today report someone did this last night!), Twelfth Night, and ... Lucia . Lucia is something we all grow up with and is a tradition that you won't find outside Sweden, unless you go to the embassy or something. I can't just dress up and have my own one-person Lucia procession, because it just doesn't work. You have to be there, in Sweden, and I'm no

Welcome to Richard Armitage mania!

Greetings, new recruits! I'm Armitage Army [insert faux military rank here] Traxy, and this is my blog. Howdy! I'm posting this a few days ahead of the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey , and this is written especially for newly hatched Richard Armitage fans who are now scouring the web trying to find information about that guy who plays Thorin Oakenshield , because he's such a brilliant actor. You know, this guy. Basically, I'd like to welcome you to the Dark Side, where so many of us have been for years. Here, have a cookie! No doubt you now require more information about the actor Richard Armitage and I'd like you to know that yes, he really is a great actor, and he's been around for years. As has his fanbase, nicknamed by someone's husband once upon a time as the Armitage Army. (Please don't ask him about this if you ever meet him. Everyone does it, it's really old.) You're a bit late in joining the party, but the party

Swedish Ways: Nobeldagen

Do you know what day they hand out the Nobel Prizes? Most Swedes will be able to tell you: 10 December, the Nobel Day - Nobeldagen . The Peace Prize is given out in Norway, but the rest (as far as I know) are given out in Stockholm. In the evening, the Nobel party (Nobelfesten) is televised, and people do enjoy watching the winners, the royal family, politicians and a bunch of others arrive at the City Hall in Stockholm. TV commentators will talk about who's who, who's wearing what, what the people who have just arrived and are now being shown to their seats are going to eat, and so on.

Swedish Ways: Första Advent

If all goes well, I anticipate there being a whole host of Swedish Ways posts this month, leading up to Christmas. Or jul (Yule) as we call it, because we're all Pagan Vikings at heart! :D Which is funny, because Christmas tends to be a fairly big deal in Sweden, despite it being an extremely secular society where you're generally seen as a little bit of a weirdo if you attend church regularly. Unless you're a pensioner, perhaps, or your parents forced you to do Confirmation studies when you were 14, despite your heartfelt assurances that it would be a waste of everyone's time. Churches seemed to be very popular in Germany, though. This one's from Schönwald-im-Schwarzwald.

Swedish Ways: Adjö, november; hej december!

Yesterday, it was the name day of everyone called Anders. There's a saying in Sweden, "Om Anders braskar så slaskar jul", roughly "If Anders is cold, Christmas will be wet", but in archaic language. It works the other way around too. If Anders[' name day] is cold or freezing, Christmas will be mild and rainy, but if it's mild and rainy on 30 November, Christmas will be cold and frosty - maybe even snowy if you're lucky. (Doesn't really work as well if you live in the northern part of the country, where you're probably pretty much guaranteed a snowy landscape from November onwards. Or maybe that's just a prejudice from us southerners.) Oh baby, it's cold outside. If I remember it correctly, it's nothing but a myth, but we still like to say it. Here, the day was fairly cold, starting with having to scrape frost off cars in the morning. Still not very cold, though, it was around -1°C when I left the house in the morning. If

Swedish Ways: Gustav Adolf's Day

Back in the 1600s, Sweden was a much bigger country than it is now, and we were at war a lot. We even went all the way down Germany and besieged places like Koblenz (colour me surprised!). As school children, we learn of all this, and we can't not remember the story of how King Gustav II Adolf (wider known in English as Gustavus Adolphus Magnus , apparently) met his maker. It goes something like this (bearing in mind it was 20 years ago now):

Swedish Ways: Alla helgons dag

All Hallows Eve, All Saint's Day, or as we call it in Sweden: Alla helgons dag or Allhelgonadagen falls this weekend. Technically, I think it's All Saint's Eve followed by All Saint's Day, but the Saturday is a red letter day in the calendar. The object is to pay hommage to the dead. [ Source ] It's not the excitement of the Mexican Festival of the Dead, nor does it really have anything to do with actual saints - Sweden's a Lutheran Protestant country, so we traditionally don't really "do" saints. No, instead, it's the time of year when people visit the graves of their loved ones, light a candle and perhaps lay a fresh wreath by the tombstone. It sure lights up the graveyards at night!

Time Trax is officially on DVD

BEHOLD!!! :D Things that make a simple fangirl very happy: finding out that Warner Bros have recently (earlier this month), finally, after all these years, decided to make the 1993/1994 sci-fi TV show Time Trax available on DVD. The most disappointing thing thing is that it's only series one. C'mon WB, you only ever made two - would it have killed you to release them both at the same time as a box set? :(

Everyone hates Joffrey

Everyone hates Joffrey. If you watch Game of Thrones in particular, or perhaps if you're just reading the books on which the TV series is based, you're likely to have taken a sort of anti-shine to that little bastard. As well you should, because Joffrey is not a nice person and is completely devoid of any redeeming features. In fact, he's the epitome of a complete dick, git, douchebag, jerkwad, and so on. But the actor that plays him is the complete opposite, I only just discovered, and because he's made us all hate Joffrey so much, he's obviously rather convincing as an actor! Okay, I didn't expect the actor to be a complete and utter little shit in real life just because he plays one on telly, but you know, it's nice to know that he seems to be a really nice guy in real life.

Befriending Men in Jane Austen's World - Guest post by Caroline

I've often wondered why in Jane Austen the interesting new acquaintances of the heroine's age are often men rather than women. If the women are bad, they are petty, malicious, proud and inconstant. If the women are good, they are giggly, unintellectual, sometimes sensible, never really deep or profound. (We're not talking about the heroines themselves). Perhaps Jane Austen preferred the company of men? (We seem to see quotes from her letters favourable things about the gentlemen she met). Was she trying to tell us something by having the heroines be friendlier (in a platonic sense) to men than women? Look at Pride and Prejudice . Miss Bingley is a petty malicious slanderer who thinks she's greater than the less well-off Elizabeth. Charlotte Lucas is sensible but then marries the idiotic Mr Collins. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is a vulgar, arrogant interfering old woman. The only exception is Mrs Gardiner, but she's Lizzie's aunt, so that doesn't count. The ge

Second Hobbit trailer is out

More hot dwarves. Sorry, I meant to say "more Thorin Oakenshield". Sorry, I mean Richard Armitage!! *happysigh* Ehh ... okay, well, just look at this: It does have a tremendous amount of Thorin/Richard in it. Very pleased! And of course, now it's less than three months to go! :D

Urgently seeking guest posters!

Hello. If you have ever considered submitting a guest review or any other kind of post, to my humble haunt here, now is a great time to get your hands dirty! I'm going to be offline for a few weeks, but I'd still like there to be some posts while I'm gone, if possible. I'm working on writing reviews myself, and so far I've managed to cover six out of nine posts (or twelve, preferably), but if you ever wanted to contribute, now would be a good time, as it gives me time to focus on a bunch of stuff I'll need to sort out in the week ahead. If you have anything you'd like to write, you can email the finished post(s) to blog(at) before Friday 21 September, and I'll let you know what date it'll be scheduled for, which will be early- to mid-October. If you've never contributed before, a short blurb about yourself would be great so that you're more than just Random Name. See Guest Posts for examples of previous guest posts. :) Thank

For he's a jolly good fellow!

Look, he's even wearing a cravat! :D Happy 65th birthday, Sam Neill! May you have a great birthday weekend, with lots of wine, spring flowers and warm breezes through the vinyards. :)

Happy birthday to Squeee!

Holy moly, it's been a year already! Or rather, it's been three. I can't believe I've managed to post regularly on a blog for three years now. Uh-MAY-zing! :) Thank you for reading this blog, and thank you for leaving a comment now and then, if you do. (Lurking is fine, not like I don't do that myself!) I started this blog to have an outlet for all my pent-up fangirliness, and I think I've succeeded in that. Now, I just like to have reviews of films I've seen so that I pay more attention to what's happening. Writing them down also means I remember whether or not I've seen or read something, and maybe, just maybe, it will be useful to anyone out there who loves to watch films just to be entertained and is wondering whether to watch the latest Twilight flick or Tropic Thunder . Or a Jane Eyre adaptation. Things to look forward to for the rest of 2012: The first part of The Hobbit - which is now a trilogy . Not sure I like that or not yet, consi

Happy Armitage Day!

What day is it today? It's Armitage Day! Wishing everyone a fantastic day, regardless of where in the world you are, which also of course goes for the birthday boy himself! Happy birthday, Richard Armitage! Hope your 42nd* year will be as epic as the number implies! :D And don't get swooped up by some big ol' tornado now, y'hear? ;) * The same way as the 1800s is the "19th Century", meaning if he's 41, he's on his 42nd year. That's right, isn't it?

People that remind me of Richard Armitage #2

I did another one of these " People that remind me of Richard Armitage " posts before, and I thought it was time to do another one, seeing as how I was reminded of this guy when we saw The Dark Knight Rises recently. (Review to follow once I get back from Sweden?) Well, here's the man in question: Josh Stewart .

Richard Armitage as Thorin - new pic

Here's what we're going ga-ga over today on Facebook! A new picture (from Entertainment Weekly, I believe) of Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit . [Source: ] Hawt dang. Like a friend of mine commented: I really didn't think he was going to be hot as a Tolkien-dwarf but omg, he is hotness no matter what he looks like ♥ I concur! And at the same time note that he seems to be sporting his very own beard and not that fake fuzz we've seen previously. A little over five months to go now! :D

Starlings will return for second series

The news has been out for about a week and a half, but I didn't see it until just now. Starlings , the new drama/comedy show on Sky1 (starring Brendan Coyle and Lesley Sharp) that I absolutely adore, has been renewed and a second series will be out some time in 2013. HAPPYFACE! :D

Farewell, Nora Ephron

Last night, Nora Ephron was trending on Twitter, because an obituary had been posted on a website, and then removed. Her people said she was alive. Other tweeters said that she's alive, but not expected to live through the night. Well, it seems the latter was right. :( It's now been confirmed that Nora Ephron, screenwriter and director, has died, aged 71, from acute myeloid leukaemia. Sorry to see her go. My thoughts and condoleances are with her friends and family. One of her best known films, and perhaps also most loved, is When Harry Met Sally . I've not yet (re-)watched and reviewed that, but here are a couple of other Nora Ephron films you can read my take on: Sleepless in Seattle (1993) You've Got Mail (1998)

Avengers + Firefly = fangasm

No words needed, just watch this:

Literary t-shirts

Ah, sometimes Facebook ads are actually useful. It showed me a t-shirt site called, which I immedately had to investigate: Lowood t-shirt Lowood Charity School. :D It's £15 (or more, depending on size/style) and comes in white or pink. Free shipping to anywhere in the world.

Swedish Ways: Midsommar

I was going to write a post, but then ... then someone posted a link to this video and a description seems sort of superfluous! ...Okay, maybe some things need explaining after all.

Are you sure you weren't separated at birth?

There are some people that you see on TV, and then you see someone that looks just like them. Except unlike the topic of yesterday's post, they're the other gender. And they're not even related. Ever had that? There's one I've been thinking about for a while, and while looking for photos in order to make this image, found that Google Images actually suggested I search for the two of them together. For anyone in the UK, it's rather obvious: John Sergeant and Jo Brand , of course! Jo Brand & John Sergeant. Or is it the other way around? Brand is a very deadpan, snarky, and - in my humble opinion - hilarious comedian. Sergeant is a journalist or something? These days he's on The One Show and has danced (badly) in Strictly Come Dancing . Could be twins! Don't know the age difference between the two, but gosh, they do look very similar. Another one I didn't think of until today, when I watched The Prestige . I saw the judge and thought &quo

People that remind me of Richard Armitage #1

Please tell me I'm not the only one who keep seeing people that remind me of Richard Armitage? Surely you keep seeing people that remind you of him as well? Anyway, here's the one that gets me every time we watch Grimm : Sasha Roiz .

Arise, Sir Kenneth!

Just saw that the Queen's Birthday Honours have been made public. Kenneth Branagh may now call himself Sir, as he is to be knighted. Gary Barlow and choir boy Gareth Malone got an OBE each, and  Kate Winslet a CBE, just like Mary Berry from The Great British Bake-off . Another Knight of the Realm is Richard Stilgoe, who's worked with Andrew Lloyd Webber a lot. Congratulations, one and all! The full lists are on the Directgov website and a summary is available on BBC News .

What about straight actors in gay roles?

The subject of a gay actor playing straight parts has come up in the comments before, but I think for me personally, that's more to do with the actor's skills than anything else. For instance, if a certain actor we all love and are really devoted to would turn out to bat for the other team, as it were, some people would argue that it would be too weird to watch him play straight relationships on screen. For instance, wouldn't it be weird if Thornton was gay in real life? Don't look like no limp wrists to me, sonny. I think it's more to do with how the actor portrays the character. With Thornton, I'd say "whoa boy, you sure could've fooled me!" for instance. In Serenity , we finally see Kaylee and Simon get together. The actor playing Simon, Sean Maher, came out last year. Him and Kaylee? That seems genuine enough to me.

The Hobbit Production Diary #7

Peter Jackson and pals in New Zealand post production diaries from The Hobbit every now and again. The seventh one in the series has just been released. Was happily surprised to realise Billy Connolly has been cast as Dain, and the surprise cameraman in the end is pretty cool. :D There's no interview of Richard Armitage, and we only see him briefly, but oh, those moments are worth their weight in gold. Feast your eyes on this:

Swedish Ways: Nationaldagen

6 June is the national day ( Nationaldagen ) of Sweden. It didn't use to be a holiday, but a few years ago, after I moved to Britain, they decided to scrap Whitmonday as a red letter day and have the national day off instead. When I was in primary school, we'd perhaps gather around the flagpole in the school grounds and sing the national anthem and that was pretty much it. On the other hand, roundabout now, Swedish schools finish for the summer, so most kids and teenagers will be kind of preoccupied with other things ...

Hey, I was watching that!

Apparently, although I'm a little late in joining the funeral, BBC4 will not be making any more Dirk Gently . Very disappointed to hear of this. The show's star Stephen Mangan said on Twitter fairly recently: It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to report that the BBC have decided not to make any more Dirk Gently. Sadface. I was hoping they'd do more of it, now that they got the formula right. But alas, it didn't get as many viewers to make it sustainable, I guess. Still, sadface. Was cancelling Dirk Gently the right decision? You can cast your vote on the Radio Times website , or simply head over to AVAAZ to sign the petition to bring it back.

One likes to get into the spirit of things

Happy Diamond Jubilee, Ma'am! Yeah, I've totally seen the Queen in real life! And all the best to the Duke of Edinburgh - hope you're feeling better soon, sir!

We're all going on a summer holiday

No more worries for a month or three. Fun and laughter on a summer holiday, to make our dreams come truuuuuuue ... Or, as I am finally finished with 5 Weeks - 5 Themes , and with summer (hopefully) pounding at the gates, I've decided to change my posting frequency. Or I say that, but what I actually mean is that I'm planning on halving (roughly) the amount of reviews posted. Starting tomorrow, instead of posting one review every day, Monday through Friday, I will instead limit myself to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, for the duration of June, July and August. I might go on with that indefinitely, I don't know yet.

And now for something completely different

My friend Leffe found this on YouTube, and it's a good giggle for any Pride & Prejudice fans out there. The Diaries of Lizzie Bennett , a vlog for a modern version of Lizzie Bennett. Enjoy! (Rather different from Jack Nicholson, wouldn't you say?)

Sweden wins the Eurovision Song Contest

Let the celebrations commence ... even though the song is a bit meh and the legend that is Engelbert Humperdinck came second from last, only just beaten by the rest of Scandinavialand ... save for Norway, who came last with their Eric Saade (last year's Swedish entry) wannabe. I should make a Swedish Ways post about Eurovision, really. Eurovision is kind of a big thing back home. Still, congrats, Loreen! And being Swedish, I can't help but feel slightly triumphant, despite not caring much for the song, Euphoria .

More Thursday Next in July!

While looking for something completely different on Jasper Fforde's website, I came across the news that book seven of Thursday Next's adventures in the BookWorld is due out in July, somewhere between the 9th and the 20th. Wow, a new one already! The previous one was released only about a year ago! Americans will have to wait until 2 October, which is accompanied by a book tour . There's one due in July here in the UK, but there's no info yet. So, what about the new book? It's called The Woman Who Died a Lot , and is described thusly (cheekily nicked off Mr. Fforde's ffantasmagorical website in the interests of publicity): * * * The Bookworld's leading enforcement officer Thursday Next is at a low point in her life: she is four months into an enforced semi-retirement following a near fatal assassination attempt. She is yet to walk without a stick, has double vision more often than she doesn't, and limited mobility in her left arm. She returns hom

Happy Towel Day 2012!

Today is the day we celebrate the life and works of Douglas Adams. Here's my choice of clothing for the day: (Obtained from Qwertee a while back.) The Squeeze was a darling this morning and volunteered bringing a towel with him to work as well, bless him. I'm probably more into observing Towel Day than he is, but he still does it. :)

The worst movies of all time - Guest post by Ben

Smile, you're in a romcom! It seems that Hollywood churns out films these days with little regard for authenticity, class or style. Script and substance are squashed by cheesy lines and outrageous CGI in the rapidly homogenising movie industry. This doesn’t deter cinema goers, who are happy to spend their hard-earned cash on the spiralling price of film tickets, as well as £8 on some puffed up corn, carbonated water and syrup. Yet from time to time, even this monolith of consumerist mediocrity can drop a blooper so bad that the public can’t stomach it. After much research amongst the Blockbuster bone-yard, some truly horrific finds have surfaced. There actually is such a thing as Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004) which recounts the wacky adventures of infants fighting to save America’s freedom … for the second time. Yes, there was a Baby Geniuses One (1999), which clearly failed to impress viewers any more than its sequel, as the consensus amongst critics is that both mo

Swedish Ways: Kristi himmelfärdsdag

Today, Norway celebrate their release from the union with Sweden. They celebrate it passionately, so happy are they to be rid of us. Ahh well. Hope you guys all have a great Syttene Mai, neighbourinos! This year, Norway's national day co-incides with Kristi himmelfärdsdag , which is Ascension Day in English. This is the day when, according to the New Testament, flight Jesus Christ took off from planet Earth, or the Son of God ascended into heaven after having died on a cross and resurrected three days later around Easter, if you will.

Happy and sad, but mostly over-worked

So much to do, so little time. Currently very busy with work, and have been for the past couple of weeks - and will be for at least part of the week to come, so I'm feeling less and less coherent. Sorry about that. Hopefully things will be back to normal by the end of next week, fingers crossed. Until then, I just hope I'll be able to post as per my usual schedule. Meanwhile, news are: We've finally started watching Once Upon a Time , which enjoyable. It's been picked up for a second series as well, so well done them. Need to set up a series link for Sunday, when Starling begins on Sky 1. Why you need to watch it? Brendan Coyle is in it, with Lesley Sharp. Another show we're watching (and probably prefer over the one just mentioned, to be brutally honest) is Grimm , which, too, is getting a second series. Which is more than can be said about Alcatraz , sadly.

Batman returns ... soon

How's about a trailer for the upcoming Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises , to whet your appetite? Part three of three with Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne is out 19 July in Australia, 20 July in the UK, USA and Canada, with Scandinavia and most of the rest of Europe 25-26 July. Can't wait to see Wollaton Hall as Wayne Manor! :D

Swedish Ways: Första maj

The first of May, första maj, is a red letter day in Sweden. Emphasis on red. You could stay at home nursing a hangover from last night's Valborg-celebrations, or you could go out and join a demonstration. May 1st is the international labourers' day (or something like that) and the labour union movement in Sweden has traditionally been very strong, if perhaps slightly on the decline in recent years. There was a famous riot in Ådalen in 1931, made into a film by Lasse Hallström or someone. We saw it in class once upon a time. So on the first day of May, it's common to have political rallies and speeches and demonstrations, because Socialism is kind of a big deal in my home country. (If you can't distinguish between Socialism and Communism, go educate yourself now. Seriously. Especially if you think Socialism "doesn't work". Do your homework.) Anyway. Happy May Day; go stick it to the man!

Swedish Ways: Valborgsmässoafton

On the final day of April, Swedes take to lighting big bonfires and sing to celebrate the coming of spring and to be free of the final clutches of winter. [ Source ] Traditionally, we'd put on our graduation caps and sing in choirs (especially if you're a university student at Lund or Uppsala), about how spring has sprung. The event is called Walpurgisnacht in Germany, but we call it Valborg , or Valborgsmässoafton .

Brontë Sisters = 3-in-1 Charlotte Brontë?

Got an email a while back about a new Brontë biography that's out now. The email didn't say too much about it (like a title), aside from that it "rocks major myths surrounding the family", but there was a link to a YouTube video. Thought I'd share it and see what you reckon. Video description reads: More than just a biography, 'Charlotte Brontë's Thunder' is for readers who love a good detective story or a dark, haunting murder mystery. This shocking and controversial biography proves that Charlotte wrote all the Bronte novels. Why did she use 3 male pen names? Charlotte was desperate to protect herself and her sisters Emily and Anne from a few corrupt and dangerous men whose crimes she was secretly recording in her writing.

Jane Eyre costumes return to Haddon Hall

Through , we learn that Haddon Hall (outside Bakewell in Derbyshire), the Thornfield of no less than three different Jane Eyre adaptations ( Gainsbourg/Hurt 1996 , Wilson/Stephens 2006 , Wasikowska/Fassbender 2011 ), is to have an exhibition of the costumes of said productions. Last year, they displayed costumes from the 2011 production, but now they're getting ones from the previous two as well. Yay!! If it was just the 2011 costumes, I wouldn't be that tempted to go - been there, seen those - but with the other two adaptations as well ... awwww, I'll totally have to. Just imagine, seeing Rochester's deep green coat ... wow. Also, the 2011 costumes are incredible : Mrs. Fairfax's apron. I loved it in the film. It's even more wonderful to behold in real life.

Good things come to those who wait

Provided the world doesn't actually end at the Winter Solstice this year (Mayan prophecy and all that), and missing the holiday season completely because they want to bring it in line with the publication of the very first novel in the series 23 years ago ... The final instalment in the epic Wheel of Time fantasy series finally has a release date:

Unexpected Heartthrobs: Horst Buchholz

Just because I hadn't thought about making this a recurring feature back when I reviewed Tiger Bay . Quoth meself: The most surprising thing was how much Korchinsky looked like Johnny Depp! Man, he must've been a heartthrob back in the day! Lookit those gorgeous brown eyes! *swoon* Ladies, behold: It's a hoot looking at really old films and realising that actually, the actors back then could easily rival the heartthrobs of today!

Unexpected Heartthrobs: James Mason

Admittedly, I only half-watched the film he was in, which means I can't in all good honesty review it (which is a shame, because it would be my first Hitchcock and it's on IMDb's Top 250 list), but one thing surprised me: James Mason was a rather dashing fellow back in the day!

Out today: Ninepins by Rosy Thornton

Today, author Rosy Thornton has released her latest novel, called Ninepins . There's already a positive buzz about it, one reviewer calling it "tense, engaging and atmospheric", and Waterstones saying it has "the tension of a thriller". Ninepins is an isolated former tollhouse, standing high on a bank beside a waterway in the Cambridgeshire fens. There, since her divorce, Laura lives alone with her 12-year-old daughter, Beth. Below the bank stands the old pumphouse – a former fen drainage station – which is rented to a series of student lodgers. But this year’s lodger is different: Willow is seventeen, and in local authority care. Battling down her reservations, Laura takes her on. Do Willow’s strangenesses and her mysterious and troubled past make her a threat to Laura and, especially, to Beth? What were the circumstances surrounding the act of arson which led to Willow being taken into care? Set against the brooding landscape of the fens, Ninepins explo

100th anniversary of Titanic

In the early hours of 15 April 1912, over 1500 people were lost at sea in the biggest maritime disaster in history: the sinking of the RMS Titanic. A disaster that could have easily been averted or even avoided. Today, we remember those who met their watery grave that night. R.I.P.

The X-Files sequel? Frank Spotnitz wants one!

From Screen Daily through Dread Central , we learn that Frank Spotnitz would love to see more of The X-Files . Wouldn't we all? Well, okay, I would! Quoth the man: There is a very active and relentless fan campaign for a last movie. I do feel like it would be a terrible shame if that didn’t happen. It feels wrong not to give it an ending around the alien colonisation of earth. David [Duchovny] and Gillian [Anderson] feel the same. I have a clear idea of how it would go and I’ve been talking to Chris Carter about it for a long time. I’ll keep banging the drum whenever I meet the Fox guys. Apparently, Fox still holds the rights to any sequels, but as the last movie didn't do very well, they're ... reluctant, shall we say? I actually really enjoyed the film, and the main criticism of it ("it's not about the aliens, it's like a normal episode!") is exactly why I enjoyed it. So there!

Swedish Ways: Påsk

Glad påsk! [ Source ] In Britain, Easter seems to only mean two bank holidays, chocolate eggs and Biblical adaptations on telly. In Sweden, aside from the extra days off work, the chocolate eggs and Charlton Heston, you would - at least when I was growing up - eat boiled eggs which you had painted in one way or another. Some days before, you would have brought in birch twigs and adorned it with coloured feathers and little egg-ornaments and things. Think tabletop Christmas tree and you're on the right lines. If you made sure to put water in the vase (and marbles to weigh it down so it wouldn't fall over), the twigs would sprout little green leaves in the indoor warmth, and if you've never smelled opening birch leaf buds, you don't know what you're missing.

Farewell to The Dubliners' Barney McKenna

Today, I found out that the last of the founding members of The Dubliners, and thereby the one who has been with the group the longest, has passed away. I can't relate to the maker of a guitar amp, although Mr. Marshall's contribution to musicians everywhere is admirable, and I've never really heard more than Hey Hey We're The Monkees to feel other than "aww, well, sorry for his family and friends" about Davy Jones's passing a month or so ago ... and I've not said more about Whitney Houston's death than reviewing The Bodyguard . The Dubliners is different. They're probably my favourite Irish folk band, for starters, and they're legendary . We had the chance to see them last year when they were in Nottingham. They were back again this year, for the 50th Anniversary Tour in March, and I was really torn, because I really wanted to go and see them, and on the other hand, we saw them the year before, and we also had other plans for that eve

Horrible Histories preview - parody of The Monkees

Thanks to the fantabulous Laurence Rickard (@Lazbotron), I found this and had to share. It's a song from the new series (starts on Monday!), starring a group of Greek philosophers, singing a song very similar in style to that of The Monkees ... which is oddly topical .

Swedish Ways: Långfredagen

Because I've been really busy with work recently, and because today is a Bank Holiday, I'm actually going to take a little break, and not post a review today. In fact, I'm going to shock myself and not even write one for Monday either, because that's also a bank holiday! Instead, for today, I'll write a few words about Easter in Sweden. Today is Good Friday, or Långfredagen as we call it. "Long Friday", the day when Jesus got captured and eventually strung up on a cross. Back in the day, you weren't supposed to do any work on this day, but instead just reflect over the suffering of Christ on the cross. No wonder they called it "long" Friday, because how long must it have felt for all the kids who didn't want to sit still? Nowadays, it's just a red letter day, meaning it's a day off work. Kids are on their Easter holiday - one week, either the week before or after Easter - and the weather might or might not remind anyone of

Richard Armitage mad libs

Remember mad libs? Where all you get is a list where you're supposed to fill in a type of word specified and in the end, it puts those words into a story that's just ... well, mad. I found a place online where you could do them, and thought I'd try one about the Perfect Man. Here's how it turned out, with the words I put in highlighted ... My "Dream Man" should, first of all be very beautiful and gaunt . He should have a physique like Richard Armitage , a profile like Toby Stephens , and the intelligence of a cat . He must be polite and must always remember to purr my cup , to tip his radiator and to take my nose when crossing the street. He should move darkly , have a yellow voice, and should always dress smugly . I would also like him to be a black dancer, and when we are alone he should whisper grand nothings into my mouth and hold my tall hazelnut . I know a biscuit is hard to find. In fact the only one I can think of is the Squeeze . LOL! Trul

Coming soon: Horrible Histories, series 4!

They're back! Series four of Horrible Histories comes to CBBC soon, celebrating with a whole week of historical shenanigans! Keep your eyes peeled 9 - 13 April. Quoth the BBC Press Centre : In series four, viewers find out how historical figures such as Dick Whittington and Robert the Bruce get on pitching movies about their life story, and which Historical Apprentice teams will find out they’re fired. There are also more magnificent musical interludes including Victoria and Albert’s love ballad, Charles Darwin with a Bowie-esque rock tune, and a new Battle of Britain RAF Pilots boy band. Each episode features a mirthful mix of sketches from across the ages, from Slimy Stuarts to Rotten Romans, and is hosted by Rattus Rattus the talking rat. Death returns to quiz the recently deceased on the manner of their demise in Stupid Deaths, and King Henry VIII has a go at raising some much needed funds by taking part in a daytime TV show Cash in the Abbey. Hands up everyone who ju

Swedish Ways: Våffeldagen (with recipe!)

It's that time again! Today, we put the clocks forward one hour - in fact, by the time we've woken up today, it will have happened already. In Christian mythos, it's the day where virgin Mary was told she was to become the most famous teenage mum in two millennia. In Sweden, this is called Jungfru Maria bebådelsedag . At some point, this was known as Vårfrudagen (day of our lady), but through some sort of Chinese whispers, it morphed into Våffeldagen (waffle day). Bit of a difference, really. [ Source ] Traditionally, you'd have Swedish waffles with whipped cream and jam. Preferably straight from the waffle iron, so they're crispy and hot. For some reason, my mum has never quite understood why hot, crispy waffles are nicer than cold and spongy ones. They're not pancakes, after all. (Mmm, cold pancakes!)

The adorablest music video you'll ever see!

I wish all music videos were as adorable as this one. :) I may have posted this one before, I don't remember. Worth seeing again, though. Speaking of Fatboy Slim, I couldn't find a version that would allow embedding, but having legendary actor Christopher Walken in your music video is pretty darn epic , so go check it out!

#FanstRA: I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello!

Well, what a week! I haven't had much time to look at other posts, let alone respond to comments here, but that means that FanstRAvaganza 3 is far from over. While the actual event is over now, the posts are still there to read and to comment on, and that goes for all the participants, not just myself. Thank you all for stopping by and reading what I've had to say. I've tried to mix business-as-usual with FanstRAvaganza, which means a lot more work, but it's worth it. Big, humongous thanks to the organising crew behind this year's event, and amongst those, I'd like to give honourable mentions to Servetus , who has done the nigh impossible here and managed to herd cats organise bloggers, and to CDoart, for keeping track of all the posts . Thanks also to all fellow participants, old and new. You're all awesome, and it's going to be lots of fun catching up with everything in the weeks, and probably months, to come.

#FanstRA: Whatta we gonna tell our friends when they say "ooh-la-la"?

Today's Tag Teams: Last, but definitely not least! Freeform: Agzy shares with us her favorite Armitage paper doll • Ana Cris examines Lucas North's tattoos through Maori tattoo culture • Jas Rangoon premieres her new John Bateman fanvid • In fandom , jazzbaby1 thinks RA fandom is just groovy! • C.S. Winchester asks "naughty or nice?" in a picspam • Mrs. E.B. Darcy thinks about Armitage's future after TH to wrap up the Hobbit chain • Jo Ann offers the last King Richard Armitage post, on Richard III and the Tudors • In fanfic , Maria Grazia reviews and compares works by the authors she's interviewed • Gratiana Lovelace wraps up the event with a guest post by Melissa the Mouse! • Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of the event! This post is not inspired or based on anything in particular, but it's my last actual discussion topic of F3. I have had a thought for a while now, after reading in various online newspapers about

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2012!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Even though I'm not Irish this time around, I still like to observe St. Patrick's Day. And as is traditional for me on the blog, here is an Irish song. This rendition of Óró, Sé do Bheatha 'Bhaile is from a 2002 live performance of traditional songs by Sinéad O'Connor. I really like her version of it. If you've seen The Wind That Shakes the Barley , it's sung by the characters.

#FanstRA: Stayin' alive

Today's Tag Teams: It's almost over, oh noes! In fandom , Phylly3 celebrates her second blogiversary! • Avalon considers her favorite fandom moments (includes interview with Jeannie Gisborne)! •  In the Hobbit chain, Antonia Romera compares trailers for An Unexpected Journey in three languages • CDoart 's the King Richard Armitage blogger, writing on the relevance of the character in times of questionable justice • In fanfic , Jo Ann finishes her story • fedoralady traces the evolution of her "sloth fic" series • In freeform , Gratiana Lovelace rescreens her Armitage birthday vid • Fabo casts Armitage in Hollywood musical remakes • C.S. Winchester takes on Armitage in period costumes from N&S and Miss Marie Lloyd • Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day. This post is inspired, but not exactly based on, Richard Armitage's character in The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: In Divine Proportion . I freely admit the reason

#FanstRA: All I can say is that I love to love you

Today's Tag Teams: In the Hobbit chain , Mrs. E.B. Darcy projects what our hero may do in TH: There and Back Again • Ana Cris discusses a Maori ceremony Mr. Armitage witnessed in New Zealand's mountains • In King Richard Armitage , fitzg guestposts at judiang 's on non-Richard roles for Armitage in a Richard III project • In fanfic , Jas Rangoon continues  her modern N&S fic • Maria Grazia presents an interview with Cat Winchester and giveaway of her book, Northern Light • In freeform , fedoralady asks about our dream Armitage-narrated audiobooks • John Thornton wonders if anyone else could play him • Agzy discusses Heinz Kruger's sartorial choices -- and what's underneath them! • In fandom , jazzbaby1 maps Armitage in the Tommyverse • Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day. This post is inspired, but not exactly based on, Richard Armitage's character in Between the Sheets . Say what you want about Paul,

Dewey Decimal Challenge 2012 - All about non-fic!

Here's one I've forgotten to mention, but which I'm actually participating in ... It's very simple - all about reading non-fictional books. Subject or genre doesn't matter, as long as it's non-fic. I've signed up to read five books this year, but I've kind of already done that, so I might up it slightly. Here's my list of non-fic books read and reviewed in 2012: Britain's Living Folklore by Roy Palmer (1991)   The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A Norman (1988) Hypothyroidism Type 2 by Mark Starr (2005) And here's what I'm currently reading and/or drafting: How to Go Carbon Neutral by Mark Brassington (2008) [That impossible-to-read course book about design] (2004?)

#FanstRA: It's all about the Monet, Monet, Monet

Today's Tag Teams: In King Richard Armitage , Servetus admits to (gasp!) stray thoughts while lecturing • In fanfic , Margaret Hale guestposts at John Thornton 's on why she loves him • Jo Ann continues her story • In freeform , Jas Rangoon jokes about potential reproductive partners for Mr. Armitage • Itsjsforme reveals another Guy of Gisborne PSA (still not safe for work!) • Gratiana Lovelace needs more help captioning "Whimsical Moments with Deadly Serious ChaRActers!" •  In fandom , IngeD3 focuses on Ricky Deeming • Fabo confesses her Richard Armitage eyelash fetish! • In the Hobbit , it's calories galore as Antonia Romera discusses fingerlicking at the Hobbit table • The Queen takes on Hobbit cakes • Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day. Can't believe we're half-way through already! This post is inspired, but not exactly based on, Richard Armitage's character in The Impressionists . A passion f

#FanstRA: We are family

Today's Tag Teams: F3 brightens up "hump day"! In fanfic , Maria Grazia presents an interview with Trudy Brasure and giveaway of her book, A Heart for Milton • C.S. Winchester helps new authors get their feet wet writing fanfic • In freeform , ChrisB continues the alphabet with "B is for Beard(?)? • jazzbaby1 puts John Porter in the hands of Frank Spotnitz • Agzy outs Armitage characters as dog lovers • In fandom , fedoralady recommends the right tunes for your Armitage fanvid • Rose Gisborne describes her Armitage day •In the Hobbit , IngeD3 reveals the deeper meaning of the dwarfs' hoods • Ana Cris reflects on Armitage and Maori ceremony • In King Richard Armitage , Fabo offers some choices to play Anne Neville • Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day. This post is inspired, but not exactly based on, Richard Armitage's character in Marple: Ordeal by Innocence . Several ideas pop into my head when it comes to

UK premiere of Alcatraz tonight on Watch

If you're in the UK, remember to tune into Watch (Sky 109, Virgin 124) tonight at 21:00 / 9pm for the premiere episode of JJ Abrams's ( Lost, Fringe, Alias, Felicity ) new US drama Alcatraz . In the thrilling first episode America’s most notorious and infamous prison inmates are back, and seeking revenge ...