Wednesday, 25 August 2010

My new car...

I finally bought a new car and being the writer of a blog, I immediately turned my attention to a Clarkson-styled edgy thesis on the performance of said motor. However, I quickly realized that I am simply not cut out for Top Gear. The thing is, I don’t know what the brake horsepower is, what the torque is, how many cylinders it has and any other automotive magingling bollocks like that.

Suffice to say it is far quicker than my last car, it looks great, drives great and feels great. And the thing is that it’s all the boring stuff that really makes a difference! I actually have somewhere to put my coffee in the morning (sad I know). There’s a direct mp3 player input which gets rid of the ridiculous amount of leads and FM transmitter hassle I've had to resort to. It has five doors so I can actually get to the back seats easily. It’s comfortable to sit in and looks amazing.

Am I getting old? At least it’s not a Volvo Estate… not yet anyway

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

What would happen if...

I was watching a repeat of the somewhat controversial Channel Four documentary on the alternative line to the throne.

The idea is based on the fact that at some point during late medieval England, the line of succession took a dubious “kink” and true line was lost. Actually, that is far too concise a summary – the details were that Edward IV was not the true son of Richard Plantagenet the Duke of York and therefore should not have been able to legitimately claim the crown. The man who should have become king was (in the eyes of some) George, Duke of Clarence. Had that have happened, we would now be directing the Nation Anthem at King Michael, whose current location is Australia.

Now, this line of argument is almost so absurd that it doesn’t warrant my person intrusions. The fact that this “dubious” ascension took place during the Wars of the Roses, a time in which the line changed at least three times, is farcical enough, but we also have to consider the “risk” element of historical status. The people who make up this alternative line to the throne have only enjoyed (or not) the lives they have had because they have not had to encounter war, treason, battle, plots and terror – the elements that have readily filled the leisure time of many of our Monarchs. The slightest elements possible have changed the face of history for ever and as such, the most expensive predictive analysis would always ail to provide an even flimsy alternative scenario.

Take, for instance, Edward the Black Prince. Had he have lived to become King, there is a chance that the Plantagenet Empire would have returned to the glory days of Eleanor of Aquitaine and we would now include France as part of our dominion. What of Henry V? Had he not have contracted dysentery, there is a good chance with his fantastic talents that he would have succeeded in his dying wish to have successfully led a crusade to the Holy Lands – perhaps his would have been the ultimate success (a Muslim Agincourt). What is Catherine of Aragon had produced a son? Would we still be a Catholic country? And if Queen Elizabeth had married and had children? There would have been no Stuart influence in England and almost certainly no Act of Union to which we are now so bitterly entrusted. What if King Charles I had respected Parliament and avoided Cromwell’s threats from bearing fruit? No Civil War of course, but also no Irish war which, in many eyes, marked the genesis of the current troubles due to the mass slaughter dealt to its people.

The fact is however that if any one of these events had happened, none of the other would have followed suite in the first place! Which just goes to show that such programs are pointless madness…

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Book Reviews – Dickens and Marlowe

Not sure if I’ve ever posted links to reviews I’ve contributed to, but if not, here goes…two reviews I created last year for the Litarena Book Festival.

First off the mark, Charles Dickens…

“That so many of his readers regard him with almost protective compassion, belies the fact that Charles Dickens is, in many eyes, the UK's greatest ever author and requires almost no introduction. Born into the dark murkiness of Regency England, his idyllic childhood was torn apart when his father was sent to jail for fraudulent activity, rendering the family as paupers and meaning that he suddenly found himself working long hours in a blacking factory. The combination of all these factors was to have a profound influence upon his extraordinary body of work, for the themes of imprisonment, social justice, orphans, family life and destiny were all core elements of almost every major work he completed…” read more

Secondly (just to be complete), Kit Marlowe…

“It is almost something of an anomaly that the Elizabethan playwright and poet Christopher 'Kit' Marlowe is recognised as a predecessor to Shakespeare, as both men were in fact born in the same year, 1564. However, unlike his more widely renowned counterpart, Marlowe came from a line of reputable troublemakers a tendency that ultimately would lead to his untimely death…” read more

The whole of last year’s book festival contributions can be found here:

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Two years - where did that go?

Two years today I got married in Birtsmorton Court. Two years! Next they'll be telling me I'm thirty. Not, that cant be true. No, not yet. Just a ruse...