Friday, 24 February 2023
Did you know that Macbeth was a real Scottish king who died nine years before William the Conqueror fought the battle of Hastings? Shakespeare put his own spin on the real man to big-up the ancestry of James Sixth of Scotland (and First of England). The playwright relied on an English chronicle, but there are at least four alternative Scottish histories. And have you seen Braveheart, Mel Gibson's kilt-clad, woad-faced portrayal of the 13th century struggle for Scottish independence? One historian said of the movie that it was "one of the most historically inaccurate films I have ever seen. It bears almost no relation to historical fact". Now I'm not suggesting that everything we think we know about Scotland might be made-up for some nefarious purpose, but maybe we should take a step back and reconsider what we've been told, especially if it's based on the work of a couple of blokes in the entertainment industry, both of whom had businesses to run.
Saturday, 18 February 2023
I started to read Roddy Doyle's Two Pints a few years ago, when an Irish friend gave me a copy and told me it was "feckin' brilliant". Well, I didn't get far with it. I couldn't get to grips with the dialogue, written to try and capture the Dublin accent. So the book lurked at the back of the shelf, forgotten.
Thursday, 9 February 2023
I was intrigued by the premise of Yun Ko-eun's The Disaster Tourist. It's about a South Korean woman named Yona, who works for a travel company called Jungle that organizes holidays based around disaster zones. After being assaulted by her boss, and knowing that if she makes a fuss she'll lose her job, Yona accepts the offer of a business trip to assess one of Jungle's destinations: the fictional island of Mui.
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