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Looking forward Life of Pi film


Just discovered (pretty crap considering it was a announced in October 2005!) (thanks Elly) that Jean-Pierre Jeunet (the fabulously talented director of AmélieThe City of Lost ChildrenDelicatessenA Very Long Engagement and Alien Resurrection) is making the Life of Pi into a film, due for release in 2009.

Turning the book, by Yann Martel, would be a tricky film to make for any director due to the fact that the majority of it is set in a boat (have a look at Tom Hanks’s film Cast Away to see how easy it is for single location films to go wrong). However if there was any director that could pull it off then Jeunet is that man – it fits in perfectly with his favourite theme of a story of an orphan fighting against a monster. All his films are full of beautiful visuals with so much attention to detail that you have to watch each film at least three times to spot them all.

I have all his film on DVD, my favourite being The City of Lost Children – it’s the only film I saw on the large screen (Manchester Corner House), it’s the film my partner and I saw on our first date – she was a fan of Delicatessen and also because Jeunet’s favourite actor Dominique Pinon plays seven identical brothers – excellent!

Check out the strange interactive promo of the book.

Good interview with Jeunet, talking about all of his films, including Life of Pi.

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Reading ‘Living with a Carbon Budget’


Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and The University of Manchester have produced a report for Friends of the Earth and The Co-operative Bank, called ‘Living with a carbon budget’, which paints a rather bleak future for our world unless governments step in and take immediate action. The report states:

The Government has only four years to implement a major new programme of action to cut carbon emissions if the UK is to play its part in keeping global temperatures below danger levels

The report sets out a path to “a low carbon economy” to make sure the UK keeps it commitments to keep temperatures from rising 2C above pre-industrial levels  the critical level. It recommends that the UK needs to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 70% over the next 30 years.

The Independent neatly summarised what this path will mean:


* All cars must have a minimum fuel consumption of 45mpg and electric cars are common in towns

* Electricity and gas bills state how much carbon has been emitted

* Incandescent light bulbs are no longer on sale, replaced by high-efficiency bulbs


* Double-decker electric trains run on high-speed tracks across Europe with multiple direct routes, eg Manchester to Rome

* City centres are car free and there are 10 per cent fewer cars on the roads following a massive investment in new tram, bus and trolley bus infrastructure

* Renewable energy is a major force with large schemes such as the Swansea tidal lagoon and wind farms operating

* Rush hour is reduced by a large increase in flexible working

* All new housing will have “near-zero” demand for heating and cooling, provided by wind turbines and solar panels


* Hydrogen produces 25 per cent of all energy, including in the home with special fuel cells to provide heat and power

* A third of electricity is produced locally by communal boiler plants that burn gas

* Industrial production is based around hubs which allow “recycling” of energy resources between manufacturing processes

* Petrol stations have been replaced by multi-fuel stations offering hydrogen, electricity and bio-fuels

It would take a lot of balls for any government, yet alone the current one, to take such drastic steps to meet these proposed targets, yet what choice do they have? To upset the oil and car companies, along gas and electric companies, the majority of which aren’t owned by UK companies any more, is going to take a very, almost impossible, aggressive strategy and I don’t think any politician around today is up to that.

We can only hope we found someone soon…for the sake of our grandchildren.

Download the report here

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Meeting Jasper Fforde


Had the chance to attend an evening with Jasper Fforde tonight – held at Wrexham library as part of the Wrexham Arts Festival the event only had around 20 people attending. However Jasper was very entertaining, telling us how he wrote his first book, The Big Over Easy, had it rejected 76 times and then wrote another book, his next ‘Nursery Crime’ ‘The Fourth Bear’ as a follow up! He was more successful with ‘The Eyre Affair’, but had decided to write excatly what he wanted thinking he’d never be published! He had loads of tales about how he writes, how he came up with the subplots and puns – wish I had half his imagination!
At the end he signed and stamped my two hardbacks and gave out some of his collectable post cards.

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Reading A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian


A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka is one of those books you pick up because of the cover artwork, not because of its title. It’s almost a black comedy, there’s alot of neraly farcical situations around the story of a Valentina, a 30 something Russian immigrant who demands pricey consumer products ( In former Soviet Union all cookers are white. Crap cookers . . . for civilised person, cooker must be gas, must be brown. ) from her besoted OAP husband,Nikolai, the father of the books narrator. While trying to sort out the chaos created by this realtionship she uncovers the sorry tale of her Ukrainian family and how they ended up in England. The books title comes from the novel the father is writing and how tractors were turned into tanks in the war that transformed thier families life.

It’s well written and very thought provoking – there are lot of references at the back which I’m going to follow up in order to understand the underlying story a bit more – I didn’t do any history at school and so I’m very ignorant of the 2nd world war, part from what I’ve seen in films!

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Deciding of this year’s top 5 books


Following on from yesterday here are my top 5 books of 2005.
1. Something Rotten – Jasper Fforde
2.Aberystwyth Mon Amore – Malcolm Pryce
3. Vernon God Little – DBC Pierre
4. Earth, Air Fire and Custard – Tom Holt
5.Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

and the find of the year

Terry Pratchett – why have I not read him before?!

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Reading Fahrenheit 666


Fahrenheit 666 by Andrew Harman is one of those books you pick up in a sale – described as ‘devishly funny’ on the cover, I wasn’t hoping for much – how wrong I was – its very funny and very clever – littered with puns about hell – infernal combustion engine, (add more) it follows demons trying to win an election for Undertaker in Charge – if you like Tom Holt you’ll love this – I’m off to find more ‘Talonspotting’ and (add more) sound fun just by their titles!

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Reading Nurse Matilda


When I was young (1976 ish) my Mum had a friend in the north of Scotland (I forget exactly where) we used to go camping with every summer. In total there were 6 kids of varying ages. When it rained (which being Scotland in summer it often did) my Mum would read to us Nurse Matilda, written by Christianna Brand. I have very fond memories of this book, and so as we were camping this year I thought I’d read it to my daughter. It all came flooding back – it’s about a family of naughty children (you’re not told how many but it’s at least 6 who terrorise their various nannies and governess until noone will work for them. Until Nurse Matilda arrives and using her magic stick sorts the children out – its very funny. It’s beautifully illustrated by Edward Ardizzone. My daughter is enjoying it, but I hope she doesn’t get any ideas!


The Brown children are terribly terribly naughty – unbelievably naughty. All the nannies and nursery-maids and governesses in the directory are called upon to implement some kind of order in the house but, inevitably, they are soon driven to distraction and of course leave having had absolutely no positive effect on the children’s indefatigable resource of mischief and anti-social conduct – all much to Mr and Mrs Brown’s horror and dismay. But apparently there is one last resort ‘What you need is Nurse Matilda.’ This is a gem of a book with episode after episode of relentless mischief and vast amounts of humour. Ardizzone’s illustrations are stunning throughout.

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Reading English Passengers


English Passengers by Matthew Kneale was lent to me by my partner. Thought I’d give it ago as we do share common reading habits (I got her into Jasper Fforde). As it started with a captain in the Isle of Man (where I lived for 5 years) I thought it could be good.It two stories running together – a group of eccentric Englishmen making a voyage to Tasmania to discover the Garden of Eden, the other story following a young aborigine, Peevay, trying to survive the ‘invasion’ of European immigrants to Tasmania (who basically wipe out the aboriginal population). The stories are told as a series of diary entries and letters by each of the characters as they make their journeys – it’s cleverly done too.

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Enjoying Akunin book covers


I’ve discovered that the Boris AkuninErast Fandorin’ novels have a great series of book covers that feature the same photograph of a man in, though each time he is wearing something different, even though it’s the same vintage photograph used. Beautifully designed by Two Associates you notice some new little detail each time you pick up the books.

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Increasing my vocabulary


I’ve just started reading ‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell (a review of which will follow when I’ve finished it). It’s a collection of 6 stories interlinked in some way, the first of which is set in the 19th century. Not sure if David Mitchell is trying to write in the style of time but he’s certainly swallowed a thesaurus to do so! In the space of 8 pages I’ve had to look up 7 words:

peregrination:To journey or travel from place to place, especially on foot.

polymath: A person of great or varied learning. (clearly not me!)

excoriating: To censure strongly; denounce:

somnambulant: Walking or tending to walk while asleep

tatterdemalion: A person wearing ragged or tattered clothing; a ragamuffin.

pusillanimity: The state or quality of being pusillanimous; cowardice.

Now all I need to do is figure a way to get these words into an everday conversation!

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