Friday, November 26, 2010

A modest proposal: Waldo-Duvet Inc.

So, it's like a normal duvet, see, right, yeah, but about 12 inches from the top, right, you cut two holes, yeah? And over these holes you sow a pair of long-armed gloves, see, yeah, right, and they're padded or whatever for extra warmth, yeah? And so you can lie in bed, right, see, with the duvet like right up to your neck so you're all snug and warm and that, yeah, right? But you can also hold a book and read it!

Clearly both duvet and cover will have to be synchronised.

This is my chance to make up for not pursuing the idea I had for price comparison websites back in, um, 1996 or so.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Conquering the world, one iconic mountain at a time

Last year my good friend Peter went on a Himalayan hiking holiday and had a copy of The New World Order in his backpack as he gazed down on Everest Base Camp.

This year, on behalf of Guildford Town Centre Chaplaincy, he ended up on top of Kilimanjaro. And this time he thought to take a picture of his holiday reading.

Well worth the £20 I sponsored him for.

He points out that I now have until summer 2012 to get another book out, which is when he's hoping to do the Inca trail.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Non nobis domine, dives in omnia!

If it happens two years running then it's annual, right? Thus the now annual Mostly Bookbrains Literary Quiz, held last night at the Manor School in aid of Friends of Abingdon Museum. I maintain that coming 5= out of 12 teams is a perfectly respectable position. I mean, anyone could mistake a picture of Stieg Larsson for Mark Haddon or forget that the hero of C.J. Sansom's series of Reformation crime novels is Matthew Shardlake, not Shadwell.

I take no pride in knowing who wrote the Wheel of Time series - though perhaps a small shred of it in not having read any - but I felt quietly smug for knowing that 2001: A Space Odyssey was based on "The Sentinel". In that particular round, a bit of music commonly associated with a movie was played and we had to name the literary original that the movie came from. Thus for the theme from Schindler's List, the correct answer was Schindler's Ark, geddit?

For 2001, though there is a novel of the same name, it was written concurrent with the film and I thought it worth mentioning that technically "The Sentinel" would be the right answer. And got a bonus point.

Which was lost later on in the same round by what some might call the strange confusion of Henry V (modern version) and Porterhouse Blue. The confusion is that both feature quite a catchy earwormy Latin number. From Branagh's Henry V:

(Look closely and you might see Inspector Wallander carrying a dead teenage Batman across the battlefield, in a single 4-minute take: cudos to Christian Bale for not sneezing.)

And from Porterhouse Blue:

See? Easy mistake to make.

For the completists, the Henry V words are: Non nobis domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam, i.e. "Not to us O Lord but to your name give glory."

The Porterhouse Blue words are too long to put here but are translated here, and despite being made up were well in keeping with the spirit of the series. That's one of the things that made it such a good show to watch: that, and Ian Richardson, and David Jason, and the college exploding under a load of gas-filled condoms.