Posted in May 2014


This film is billed as one of he great nail-biting thrillers of the year, but I think it is more of a personal drama, of a man alone trying to sort out lots of problems as he drives through the night. My first response to it was that it worked well as a radio play, … Continue reading

Germans and the War

Britain and the States  have been making movies about the Second World War for decades; they were used for propaganda and morale boosting, and bookshops still have shelves groaning beneath the books still in print. The Germans themselves have been wary of this, but when they do it, they do it well. Heimat is a … Continue reading


This is a film that I was very wary of seeing. It is about a musician who wears a large papier mache head, and is based on the thoroughly English performer Chris Sievey who performed as Frank Sidebottom, and until his death was a cult figure whose songs were mostly about the small Northern town of … Continue reading


Another quirky Film from Wales, and another road movie, this time by musician Gruff Rhys in search of an ancestor who emigrated to Patagonia after a family feud. It was supposed to be the result of a horse race that involved the murder of a rival, but apparently it was more mundane: the winner had … Continue reading


This obscure little gem of an indy movie deserves more recognition than its slot on the library shelf. Perhaps held back by being in Welsh and Spanish doesn’t help, but that is at the heart of the film. It is actually two completely separate stories, one of a young Welsh woman who accompanies her boyfriend … Continue reading

Monkey Grip by Helen Garner

This is the book I chose to write about in my MA degree as the book that changed my life. At the time it felt like I just pulled it out of the air, but it is one of the few books that I keep returning to and seeing something more in it, more layers, … Continue reading

Who Makes a Revolution?

Here’s another excerpt from graham Swift’s Waterland, an exchange between a history teacher and a pupil who believes the subject is a waste. “How would nostalgia make these hungry workers go on the rampage then?’ ‘I’m glad you asked that, Price…  – sociologically speaking. because it raises the question of how you define a revolution, … Continue reading

Revolutions and Natural History

This is another piee from Graam Swift’s Waterland: There’s something which reolutionaries and prophets of new worlds and even humble champions of Progress …can’t abide. Natural history, human nature. Those weird and wonderful commodities, those unsolved mysteries of mysteries. Because just supposing… this natural stuff is always gettng the better of the artificlal stuff. Just … Continue reading

Progress, Civilisation and Land Reclaimation

This is an extended piece from Graham Swift’s brilliant book, Waterland: Who will inherit the world… When the children of the French Revolution threw off their tyrannical father Luis XVI and their wicked step-mother Marie Antoinette (who, as it turned out, were only  like figures in a puppet show, you could pull of their heads just … Continue reading

Graham Swift and Histories

This is from Graham Swift’s novel, Waterland, in which the narrator, a history teacher, defends his subject to students who think history is of no relevance, they need to learn about the here and now. “How many tmes do we enter the Here and Now? How many times does the Here and Now pay us … Continue reading