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Guilty Pleasure 5 – Living In A Time Warp

27 Jul

Ok time for perhaps my guiltiest guilty pleasure. I confess I was born a little bit middle aged even my taste in clothes (if I had the choice) and music is old fashioned. As a teen I didn’t call a help line because Take That split up, I didn’t do back flips for Boyzone, I didn’t worship East 17 no, no, no. My musical tastes and even the TV shows I liked best were from another era.

I loved the Beatles, Elvis  and the Monkees. I watched the Monkees, Elvis Movies (some were shockers!), Monty Python, Bewitched and I dream of Jeannie. I even used to be a member, and technically still am, of an internet message board devoted to the Monkees and had some good times there in my youth. If only I could have wiggled my nose like Samantha of blinked like Jeannie and made things happen, oh the fun I could have had 😀 Continue reading


Guilty Pleasure 4 – Old Books

26 Jul

I admit it, while the other kids were smoking behind the hill I was in the library reading ‘The Mask Of The Red Death’ By Edgar Allan Poe. I started on Sherlock Holmes in my teens as well as discovering M.R James. Oh yes, a good old fashioned short story from a bygone era that’s my weakness. I read other books too but those were my favourites.

I loved Sherlock and the supernatural stories. Our ancestors may have had many short comings but there was a beauty to their speech which I often feel is lacking in the our modern times. Of course the gas light and remote locations helped too; all very atmospheric.

I remember my sister buying a second hand copy of a compilation of ghost stories called ‘A Little Night reading’ selected by Irish comedian Dave Allen. Of course she bought it we love Dave Allen (especially being a half Irish family.( That was the first time I read ‘Oh Whistle and I’ll come to you my lad’ By M.R James. That one really used to get me as a child!

When I grew up I discovered Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Tales of Terror and Mystery’ Ghost stories by Holmes’ creator, yes please. Actually I think there’s a couple of those I haven’t read yet. Since then I have also discovered Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu another great writer. I’ve also read a few Algernon Blackwood stories (brilliant name!) His character of John Silence is a bit like  a psychic Sherlock Holmes. Although I don’t find his writing style to flow as well as Conan Doyle’s in those particular stories there is something that feels quite familiar.

Do you have a favourite ghost story? What is it? Do you like the horror of Poe or the subtlety of James? Answers below

N.B Of course, before anyone points it out,  old books do have their disadvantages, once or twice (not often luckily)  I’ve come across a word that is absolutely offensive to a modern ear and I do have to remind myself to look at the context in which it is said in conjunction with the historical context. I don’t like it but I can’t change our ancestors social attitudes. That said I don’t really want to get into that in this post, it’s meant to be about positive things.



Guilty Pleasure Part 3-Sherlock Holmes

22 Jul

I have blogged about my of Sherlock Holmes before, here is the link for those of you who haven’t read it: So rather than cover old territory I just wanted to add a few photos. They are photo’s that I took on the two occasions when I visited the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London I wont show the entire museum because that would spoil the fun for those who wish to go.

The first time I went I was with someone who wasn’t a Holmes fan and they thought I was a bit weird because I was in my element. That’s why Holmes is a guilty pleasure. When I was younger it wasn’t something my age group was in to. Victorian literature wasn’t high on the average school kids agenda. Obviously by the time I was in my 20’s I was still living away from the mainstream. I just really enjoy the beauty of Victorian language and the idea of a crime being solved entirely with intelligence in the days before DNA testing and computer databases and internet search engines!

Sherlock Holmes museum entrance

Sherlock Holmes museum entrance

Continue reading

Guilty Pleasures Part 2- Merlin

21 Jul
Merlin Cast Signing Kapow 2011

Merlin Cast Signing Kapow 2011

I have always had a bit of a love for Arthurian Legend. I’m not an expert in the field or anything like that I just have a fascination for myths and legends. My first introduction to Arthurian legend was the Marshall Cavendish Storyteller series. Do you remember those? Am I showing my age? As well as modern fairy tales they had Arthurian legend amongst other myths and folktales. I loved that series but that’s another story!

When Merlin came on the scene I decided to watch it, albeit  nervously. I knew it was going to be an Arthurian mash up of sorts, they were putting the legend in a blender and seeing what came out.  They made Merlin a young man like Arthur. They made him a powerful warlock in a kingdom where magic is outlawed by Uther Pendragon and if anyone learns his secret it could mean his death.

Just one small catch he has to use his powers to help Arthur fulfil his destiny whilst keeping his gift from him. I had my doubts. To my surprise though, I loved it.

They had magic, battles, humour and drama. It was original enough that although you knew the ultimate fate of the characters you didn’t know what would happen along the way. I found that if I didn’t think about it as Arthurian legend but as a new story in its own right it was easy to enjoy. Besides the Arthurian legends themselves are not exactly historical fact now are they? It’s part myth, part fantasy part folklore. Hopefully Merlin has inspired more people to read up on the Arthurian legends.

In fact my work collegue at the time and I became friends due to our mutual love of Merlin and Dr Who. We loved it so much in fact in 2011 we went to the first Kapow comic Con to see the cast. It was the most badly organised event I think I’ve ever been to but we had a good time anyway, despite only getting 10 seconds with the cast. We did manage to get some photos though. Sadly I didn’t manage to get a good one of Angel because there was always someone between me and her or she had her head down signing 😦 I include some here but of course my twitter followers will already have seen these so they can skip them if they wish.

Katie McGrath Kapow 2011

Katie McGrath Kapow 2011

Colin Morgan signing at Kapow 2011

Colin Morgan signing at Kapow 2011

Katie and Angel Kapow 2011

Katie and Angel Kapow 2011

Colin and Bradley Kapow 2011

Colin Morgan and Bradley James signing at Kapow Comic-Con 2011

Colin Morgan Bradley James Kapow 2011

Not sure what’s going on here. Some interesting facial expressions are involved

Colin Morgan, Bradley James and Katie McGrath Kapow 2011

Colin Morgan, Bradley James and Katie McGrath Kapow 2011

Merlin cast signing at Kapow 2011

another photo from the signing table.

Merlin Panel Kapow 2011

Merlin Panel Kapow 2011

I loved series 1-4 What of series 5? I hear you ask! Well I didn’t love it (sorry to those who did.) I felt there were a lot of potential storylines opened up in previous series that could have been explored in 5 but instead we got weeks of “evil Gwen.” I’m sure many loved it but personally I was left feeling unsatisfied. It did have brilliant moments though and the finale was excellent; even though they ruined it in the last 10 seconds, WHY?!

I would have liked to have seen Merlin having the chance to live in Camelot with Arthur post magic reveal and see how his relationship with those around him was effected. What about people finding out the truth about Gwain? What about toying with the possibility of Morgana’s redemption. Maybe explaining why she went from conflicted to over grown toddler with magical rage? A process we didn’t get to see. All in all though Merlin was a happy experience for me and I hope once the disappointment of the last series has gone I’ll be able to rewatch the earlier episodes again and recapture the magic.


Guilty Pleasures Part 1- Horrible Histories

19 Jul

This is the First in my guilty pleasures series and I’m starting with Horrible Histories.Now before you shout ‘but it’s a kids show!’ I’d say disregard any preconceived ideas you have about this show it is so much more than a kids show.

There seems to be two demographics in which it is acceptable to like Horrible Histories, namely children and parents. Now is this because parents have a more juvenile sense of humour than childless adults? I doubt it but as I don’t have kids I can’t be sure 😉 joking! No my theory is that it’s just more likely a parent is going to have their TV on children’s TV shows. As a childless adult I don’t make a habit of watching kids T.V. On the rare occasions I’ve been channel flicking or waiting for another show and I’ve caught a glimpse of kids TV, I find myself thinking I’m sure kids TV was better when I was young. ( I loved knightmare!) .Nevertheless it was through these happy accidents of catching the odd sketch here and there and seeing a bit of the Stephen Fry fronted compilation that I fell in love with this show. The team behind horrible histories have always said that their intention wasn’t to make something children could laugh at but something everyone could laugh at, mission accomplished. Continue reading

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