On Battle Scars

Half a year late, but I finally get round to writing about Battle Scars. Which is odd as it is a podcast that pops to mind regularly. Thom Tran’s chats with veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are funny, moving and, more often than not, a little shocking. Battle Scars is a podcast of the highest quality that, I hope, these few (delayed) words will hopefully get you tuning (downloading/streaming/whatever) in and have these amazing experiences stay with you. In a good, uplifting, way.

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Chris Beckett's America City Giveaway

America City by Chris Beckett, set on an environmentally challenged Earth a 100 years hence, is speculative fiction at the highest level and rather uncomfortable reading.  To celebrate it's release and that it has been chosen as Simon Mayo's choice for the next Radio 2 Book Club, I am giving away a signed copy.  Full details in the post.

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Proper Adaptation: Hap and Leonard

Rarely does adaptation work well.  Most of the time you hope for the best and accept OK.  With Hap and Leonard though, Joe R Lansdale's novels live and breathe on the small screen.  This is a look at how that transfer works so well, from the eyes of a fan on a couch in leafy Surrey, a long way away from East Texas.

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A Chat With Clare Mulley

Clare Mulley's latest book, The Women Who Flew For Hitler, is a fascinating look at two remarkable and complicated women, Melitta von Stauffenberg and Hanna Reitch.  As test pilots for the Third Reich, they were at the forefront of aviation and tumultuous times.  The book is an intimate and honest biography and Clare has kindly taken some time to answer a few of my questions about it.

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Thoughts on Bond 25

With the welcome announcement of Bond 25, I default into worry at where we stand with our current Bond run.  Daniel Craig, should he return, deserves a great Bond send off.  But the corner EON has painted themselves into post SPECTRE means the wicket is rather sticky.

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The Allure of The Louvre

Finally get around to getting to Paris, on my final day in the City of Lights, I ventured to The Louvre.  Surrounded by incredible art and yet heart broken at how it was displayed, I found myself with an odd feeling to go with my old friend disapointment, a strong desire to return.  If only to say hello onc again to La Bella Nani.

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A Love Letter to Hap and Leonard

A love letter to the finest TV Show on air at the moment, Hap and Leonard.  No spoilers contained within, just an attempt to spread the joy of proper television and two towering performances from Michael Keneth Williams and James Purefoy.

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A Chat With Chris Beckett

With the recent publication of Daughter of Eden, 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award winner Chris Beckett completed his trilogy of novels set on the sunless planet Eden and the The Family that inhabits it.  The trilogy is wonderful and to celebrate the novels, Chris very kindly put up with me and answered my Eden related questions.  I hope you enjoy our chat.

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Robert Harris Conclave Giveaway

Robert Harris' new book Conclave is out now.  Having visited the Henley Literary Festival and meeting up with Robert, amidst 300 others, I have a spare copy to give away.  See the post for details and a recording of the conversation Robert Harris had with Paul Greengrass.  Yes, THAT Paul Greengrass, who was a delight.

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A Thousand Words: Sharon Tate by Terry O'Neill

In this new, reasonably regular, series, we’re going to look at some of the photographs that have affected me over the years.  The old adage “A picture paints/is worth a thousand words” is going to be our dictum.  Over the course of a thousand words, we’ll tell the story of the image, the photographer and the subject and try to add a bit of depth to the image.  The first is Sharon Tate by Terry O'Neill

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An Open Letter to Toto Wolff

Following the thrilling end to the Austrian Grand Prix where the Mercedes F1 drivers came together on the last lap, team boss Toto Wolff has threatened the use of Team Orders to reign in his two drivers, who are vying for the 2016 World Championship.  This is my plea to Herr Wolff to hold off that threat, let the Silver Arrows continue to race freely and delight, thrill and excite us all the way to whichever one of his drivers claims the title come November.

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Conversations with My Chiropractor: Commuting With Books

Commuting is one of those modern evils that most of us have to endure each day.  For me, my trip to the office involves two trains and a bus, basically the gamut of all the horrors of public transport in South and West London.  To while away the anything from the hour to many hours of journey each way (depending on which hell the train companies have chosen to enact on any that day), reading is an escape from the overcrowded nightmare that my need to pay the bills, and book addiction, entails.

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Matthew BoneComment
The Classics - The First of The Few

When my Grandparents came over for a mammoth visit after we had moved to England, I had an old Canadian TV and VCR to watch the tapes we'd brought with us.  My Granma brought me a bunch of old movies, which is what she always did when we spent time together.  She introduced me to some of the greatest films I have ever seen and, also, that good movies do not also need to be made in colour.  On this trip, knowing me as she did, she brought me a copy of an RKO Picture called Spitfire.

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The Night Manager and Signed Copy Giveaway

Sunday sees the BBC's take on John Le Carre's The Night Manager.  I love this book and to celebrate, I'm giving away a copy signed by the man himself, Le Carre, not the hotelier.  Here I talk about the book and how you can win this via the old Twitter machine.  A little note, this is one of my favourite of Le Carre's novels. 

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Walking The Black Dog

The wall was red.  I remember that vividly.  What I could not tell you was how long I’d been staring at it.  I knew I hadn’t slept, my legs were hurting and there was a tightness in my chest.  I remember asking myself, “Self, why are you staring at a wall?”  It took a physical effort to pull myself away.  That was the only success of that night.  I started pacing about, wired yet exhausted, my brain going ten to the dozen, thinking about everything and nothing at all.  I found myself in the kitchen, face to face with my mother, who stalks these halls at that hour, who looked both worried and unimpressed.

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My Top 7 Films of 2015

Following on from last years Top 7, it is that time of year again to look back at the best cinema I've seen in the calendar year 2015.  Usual rules apply, I count the films I've seen that are new but may not yet had a proper release, so things I've seen at festivals etc, and feature length films that went out On Demand so don't count for Academy consideration.  I do this because I pay for all this and frankly, I doubt anyone will read it anyway.

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Matthew BoneComment
For The Prosecution: Skyfall

We are in the midst of Bond-fever, SPECTRE is printing it's own money and all the initial reviews have been stellar.  I've not got round to seeing it yet due to a lack time and, oddly, worry.  Skyfall related worry.  Skyfall opened in October 2013 to universal relief.  Quantum of Solace, in this writers humble opinion, is one the best Bond movies every made.  It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, mostly due to constraints of the writer's strike.  I have gone to some lengths on the subject of QoS in a previous blog, so, for now, I'll just get stuck into Skyfall.

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The Physical and The Ethereal

Does something that you cannot heft in your hands have less value, physically and emotionally, than something that does?  This is something I've been juggling with for a while, especially when it comes to books.  Books are my addiction.  Having a book in my hand elicits a response that fills me with joy.  But, is it the actual papery thing tied up with sting or is it the contents of it that are important?  As I sit and write these words, I am surrounded by books.  Having a quick count on the walls either side of me, there are about 380 books on the shelves.  Hardback, paperback, signed first editions, special editions, some more loved than others, all wonderful and utter dust magnets.  Looking at them, they pull memories from my life.

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