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Assorted Ramblings...
What I said; 
1st-Jan-2022 12:00 am

I've decided to - temporarily, I hope - make this journal Friends Only. I'm being a bit wary about adding new people at this time, so don't take it personally if I don't add you right away.
14th-Jan-2013 11:25 am - Les Misérables - the movie
I've loved the musical version of Les Miserables since the first time I saw it back in 1986. It was initially a co-production with the RSC and the cast included a number of their company, such as Roger Allum as Javert and the redoubtable Alun Armstrong as Thénardier, as well as a few 'ringers' like Michael Ball and Colm Willkinson (!) I was fortunate enough to see it twice during that initial six week run.

A few years later, after it had been running in the West End for a while, I took my mum to see it at the Palace Theatre - that must have been in the early 90s.

at the end of the day...Collapse )
29th-Dec-2012 09:36 pm - Something to look forward to
DT in Red smile
I' m sure these are all over the place by now, but what the hell. There' s no such thing as too many pictures of David Tennant, right?

2013 is going to be a good year for us DT fangirls :)Collapse )
27th-Dec-2012 04:33 pm - Xmas on the Goggle Box
gromit tea
I haven't watched a lot of telly this Christmas; to be honest, there didn't seem to be a lot I felt I couldn't live without seeing.

Here be spoilersCollapse )
24th-Dec-2012 02:01 pm - Be of good cheer!
gromit tea
I know LJ has been rather quiet of late, and I'm guilty of not being around as much as I used to be. But that doesn't mean I don't think about my friends here and wonder how you all are. I will try to pop in more often.

But in the meantime, I wish you all the very best for this Festive Season and hope that Santa brings you lots of goodies!

DT looks up
You know how, sometimes, you see or read or listen to something that really makes an impression on you? So much so that it stays with you long after you first encountered it?

Back in 1985/6, I picked up a book - completely randomly, and because I thought it sounded interesting - by a British author called Stella Riley. It was historical fiction, which is my literary drug of choice and has been since I was eleven years old - and was set during the English Civil war. It's all based on fact, and many of the characters in the book existed, although the two protagonists in the romance that runs throughout it are fictional.

Anyway. I enjoyed the book so much, that I went looking for more by this author. Sadly, I found only one other title (this time set in the Restoration) but devoured it and loved it as well. Even more disappointing was the fact that she seemed to have stopped writing altogether, which I thought was a great shame. Over the next few years, both books became "comfort" reads - you know the sort of thing; you want to read something undemanding and familiar but good so you're not disappointed in your choice, especially if you're reading something to cheer you up a bit.

Somewhere along the way however, my paperback copies of both books disappeared. I don't know when or how - I can only assume during a house move (and I did plenty of those in the early 90s - divorce has that effect!) or something similar - but I always remembered those stories fondly and more recently, would occasionally check Amazon to see if there were any second-hand copies around so I could read them again. There were copies - but they were on the pricey side. I also discovered that Stella Riley had penned another four or five books, but they were even harder to get hold of and even more expensive.

The fact that, over twenty-five years later, I would still occasionally put her name into the search box at Amazon shows what an impression her writing made on me (either that, or I'm just a saddo - take your pick!) - and imagine my joy when, earlier this year, I discovered not only that she had revised and republished one of those very titles I had lost in ebook form, The Marigold Chain, but that she was revising all her novels with the same intention!

Yes - I was one very happy Caz :D

What all this is leading up to is that today, Stella Riley has published the book that started it all off for me, which is called A Splendid Defiance. That makes four of her titles that are now available as ebooks, and she is planning to republish her remaining backlist next year.

If you like historical fiction laced with romance and adventure; if you like incredibly well-written stories that feature memorable characters and excellent dialogue - I can't recommend her novels highly enough. If you're looking for something good to read over the weekend, you could do a lot worse than check them out.

ETA I reviewed the new edition here yesterday, and today, the author has written a blog post about how it came about.

And if anyone reading this needs more convincing, Stella is a fellow West Wing fan. Nuff sed :-)
I've been looking forward to this release for ages - ever since To the Death back in March 2011, Read more...Collapse )
1st-Oct-2012 08:48 pm - Doctor Who and.... Doctor Who
gromit tea
I haven't had much to say about recent episodes of DW - partly because I'm knackered and partly because I've been trying to take them at face value rather than try to work out any of the intricacies of the plot or find very much beneath the surface. That's worked for me, but I just had to say something about the departure of the Ponds.

Departures...Collapse )
gromit tea
I just remembered I haven't posted anything yet about Saturday's DW. Rory's hair is looking good, no?Collapse )
gromit tea
I've fallen behind with my BF releases lately, and haven't had time to write much - if anything - about those I have managed to listen to, but this one is so bloody good, that I had to shout about it!
under here!Collapse )
25th-Jul-2012 09:39 pm
gromit tea
Aw, bless 'im. Matt Smith really can't sound other than a bit posh, can he? Watching Bert and Dickie, it sounds like he's taken lessons in 'ow ter speek cockernee from Dick van Dyke!
11th-Jul-2012 10:33 pm - The Newsroom
gromit tea
Well, I watched the first episode of The Newsrooom, and I thought it was pretty good. I had to chuckle at the parade of favourite Sorkinisms that turned up though :) For example,
1 - Major character has a public and embarrasing meltdown a la Josh/Mary Marsh or Wes in Studio 60
2 - Oh, crap, they hired my ex- without telling me!
3 - We reached for the stars

... bless him. It doesn't bother me; I just find it mildly amusing.

I thought Jeff Daniels was great and that Charlie, as played by Sam Waterston, was a bit of a sweetie.

I'm not so sure about Emily Mortimer though, but that could be because some of Sorkin's more tub-thumping speeches (like the one in Will's office before the oil-spill story breaks when she talks about making it acceptable to want to know what's going on in the world) - just don't sound right when spouted in an English accent.

And her hair was annoying.

But it was a good start and I'm looking forward to more.
8th-Jul-2012 04:13 pm - WW fic at TNL
josh headdesk
Any of you out there who read West Wing fic and visit the National Library - can you shed any light on what on earth is up over there? I'm trying to log in to edit/update links for my stuff and not only can't I log in, or reset my password, but everytime I try to send a message using the "contact us" links, the thing crashes.


Anyone got any other ideas or suggestions?

ETA: I managed to contact the webmaster and get it sorted, so anyone trying to access my fic via TNL will be able to actually read it now!
7th-Jul-2012 11:47 pm
gromit tea
I'm woefully behind on telly programmes, radio programmes and fandom in general. I'm really not at all fussed about what's going on with Doctor Who any more. It'll be back when it's back and I'll watch and probably review, but I can't be arsed with spoilers and the like. The lovely Mr Tennant is in workaholic mode (as per usual) and I'm sort of keeping up with what he's doing, but I haven't managed to watch his ep of True Love yet. I'm more interested in Spies of Warsaw - that sounds interesting, although I'm not sure about Broadchurch. I'll watch it because he's in it, but it's probably not something I'd watch otherwise.

Things wot I watchCollapse )
... and listen toCollapse )
And when I'm not working, sleeping, watching telly or listening to audios, I have my nose in my Kindle, which I've hardly put down since I got it for Christmas! I do like "actual" books and still have a houseful, but I love the convenience of only having to take ONE book-shaped thing around with me, and not worry about losing my bookmark!
28th-Jun-2012 10:00 pm
I'm going to be spending over three weeks in France over the summer hols, and although I don't normally take my laptop with me, I think I might do for that length of time. Roaming charges on phones are completely ridiculous and I'd like to be able to check my emails and maybe look up local info.

I've been trying to find out the best and least expensive way of using the internet in Europe - other than finding suitable hotspots. I imagine buying a wireless dongle is the best option, but I don't know which to get, and presumably, buying a UK one isn't the way to go.

Any ideas or advice for me?
13th-Jun-2012 07:40 pm - Feed your reading habit!
I know there are people out there who like to read actual books as well as the pithy wit and wonder that is posted here at LJ, so I thought I might point any who are interested to a new book reviewing blog.

Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers is dedicated to reviewing novels that have both a strong historical content as well as a dash of romance. We're not doing "straight" historical fiction or "straight" romantic fiction - there's got to be a good mix of both.

There's already a RHFL group over at Goodreads and the group "owner" suggested setting up a review blog specifically for this genre. There's so much of it, especially with the explosion of self-published titles and reissues that have been encouraged by the growth in the e-book market, that it's sometimes bewildering where to turn for your next read! You don't want to waste you time or your money, so you get to the point where you take recommendations from friends, or reviewers you trust - but even then, there's the chance you might miss a gem or two I know I've found a few titles via the RFHL Goodreads group that I might otherwise not have read.

The blog has been up and running for a couple of weeks and yours truly has already contributed a few reviews. So if you're interested in that genre of fiction and want to pop over to look for some inspiration, please do! And for anyone reading this who wants to submit anything for review, all the details are on the blog.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject of Goodreads, if anyone here also has a presence over there, please come to say hello! (I'm Caz over there - original, I know.)
28th-Apr-2012 09:57 pm - It's baaaaaack!
HH dancing romans
I'm finally catching up with the new series of Horrible Histories and I'm pleased to report it's as good as - if not better than - ever. The song parodies are still the highlight for me - they're so damm clever - and I like playing "spot the original" each week!

24th-Mar-2012 10:06 pm
gromit tea
I saw on Twitter earlier this week that the new DW companion was going to be announced "tomorrow"! And it made me sad that I just didn't care. I didn't spend the next day avidly hitting refresh and checking for updates; in fact I completely forgot about it until at least another day had gone by.

I don't mind that it's an "unknown" - well, unknown to anyone who doesn't watch or give a stuff about soaps. But I do mind that it's yet another pubescent female who is being described as "whacky" and who will lead the Doctor a "merry dance". YAWN. (I thought that was what River Song was for.)

Say what you like about RTD, we did at least get three quite different regular companions on his watch. Martha may have got the fuzzy end of the lollipop, but at least he tried.
29th-Feb-2012 09:50 pm - Doctor Who - Fourth Doctor Audios
Up the cyber
When I heard that Big Finish had signed Tom Baker to (finally!) record DW for them, my reaction was more of "oh, that's great news for them - I know they've wanted to sign him for ages" rather than "OMG - I must get those!".

He was a great Doctor, to be sure. But Four was never my Doctor, and I know it's almost DW heresy to say that I never really warmed to him. I didn't dislike Four, but Three was my Doctor, and that's something of my ten-year-old-self that's never really changed.

BUT. When I saw that the adventures were shorter (and therefore cheaper!) than the regular monthly releases, I decided to give them a try.

I haven't got the Lost Stories box set yet - but I've listened to the first two new stories - Destination Nerva and The Renaissance Man. I liked them both very much. The stories were solid and pacy (probably on account of the shorter running times - rather akin to the EDAs) and it was definitely good to hear Four and Leela again, while also sad to remember that some of these early Fourth Doctor stories were due to have featured Sarah-Jane Smith :(

Tom Baker is, IMO, rather better than I remember his being on telly - and before anyone throws things at me, let me qualify that statement. I think it's been so long since he's been the Doctor that we've got used to hearing him doing OTT and tongue-in-cheek voiceovers, or to listening to Jon Culshaw doing that fabulous impression of his. So to hear the actual Tom Baker as the actual Doctor again was something of a revelation. He was much more understated than I remembered, although the quirkiness and the irreverent humour are still very much in evidence. And he and Louise Jamieson worked together so well, it's hard to believe they've not done this for over thirty years.

Destination Nerva takes place after The Talons of Weng Chiang, but our duo quickly end up back in Victorian England when they answer a distress call. Of course, all is not what it seems, and they end up being transported to the space-dock Nerva which has all sorts of technical glitches. The story isn't an especially original one, but it's certainly been well written, acted and directed. I also liked the fact that the music most definitely evokes 70s DW.

The Renaissance Man is my favourite of the two, though. The story is much stronger and Tom Baker positively sparkles as the Doctor. In Destination Nerva the Doctor had to rely on his quick wits to get out of the situation, here he's using his incredible intellect and his ability to play the fool so completely as to make his adversaries believe he's an idiot. The story - of the "Renaissance Man" collecting all knowledge by stealing it from everyone he encouters - is very well done, and the darker themes, such as - what happens to someone when the knowledge that is their life's work is taken away? - are explored thoughtfully and to good dramatic effect. This is one I'll be listening to again in the near future.

After these two, I'll definitely be listening to more of the Fourth Doctor's adventures on audio.

Next up - I'll be attempting to ignore Flip's annoying mode of speech when I listen to The Fourth Wall.
gromit tea
I think that Six has become my favourite audio Doctor, so I've been eagerly looking forward to the next set of BF audios to feature "ol' Sixie", as Colin Baker affectionately terms him.

So it makes me sad to confess that I wasn't exactly bowled over by The Curse of Davros. There were things about it I really liked, and others I didn't - and one really "oh, come on!" moment that was more than a little annoying.

spoilersCollapse )
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