Category Archives: Film


I’m currently reading The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan. I wanted something short and simple and this is it, even though a tad macabre, and perhaps not as simple as it may first appear. It’s the story of a family of four children, whose parents both die in the space of a short time. The siblings create their own sort of utopia if you will, although as with most utopias it all goes a bit wrong.

Anyway I’ve discovered there’s also a film been made of it starring a young Charlotte Gainsbourg, directed by Andrew Birkin. The film/book is set in late 70s/early 80s and although made in 1993 it has some nice gritty images.

Cement Garden  Cement Garden 3 Cement Garden 4 Cement Garden 2


Brave New Worlds

reminder to self….

Brave New Worlds: The Dystopia in Modern and Contemporary Fiction

Welcome to the official site for ‘Brave New Worlds: The Dystopia in Modern and Contemporary Literature’, an interdisciplinary conference which will take place at Newcastle University on Wednesday 29th April 2015. Please keep checking the site regularly for further updates and information including the Call for Papers which will be published this weekend.

We look forward to seeing you all at the conference!

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The Beatles’ Secretary

La segretaria dei Beatles

..well, that was the Italian title of the “Good Ol’ Freda” docu-film about Freda Kelly we went to see last night.

I wouldn’t say it was a disappointment but let’s just say a kind of ‘missed opportunity’ in many ways. Let’s face it, Freda could have been a wealth of information: only she knows how much she saw / knew about The Beatles after 10 years as the “secretary” (she was actually secretary to Brian Epstein and sort of running the Fan Club at the same time).

But unfortunately not a lot came out of her…mostly because she is in fact a very reserved person (she says she had never talked about it until now, not even to her late son, which she regrets), but also becuase the film perhaps didn’t quite know how to “exploit” her fully.

It was kind of ‘low budget’, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it was low budget trying to look like high-budget which can be a bad thing. Apparently they even had to struggle to get just four Beatles songs included (hello, Yoko Ono) although admittedly there were quite a few earlier photos of the Beatles band I’d never seen before, in my Beatles/JL research, including a lot of her photographed with them.

Interviews other than with Frida (and her daughter, Christmas coffee mug in hand – natch) were with the usual suspects  (the ageing press agent and a couple of other Merseybeat musicians) and aside from a 30 second contrubution from Ringo Starr (whom she affectionately kept referring to as ‘Ritchie’) just before the closing titles there was nothing from Paul McCartney or any other really prominent Beatley people (although admittedly perhaps there aren’t many around any more).

All in all, a pleasant enough hour or so, preceded by a live interview with Frida in Milan (it was all shown simultaneeously in about 30 cinemas around the country) but I don’t think it’ll be considered as one of the best Beatles documentaries ever. A bit of a wasted opportunity. Shame, but thanks anyway Frida.