Saturday, August 07, 2004

Miscellany (and confession)

I'm in an very good mood today. To gain insight into why, I'll have to reveal to you my terrible, terrible secret which even the bravest and most shameless of people dare not admit : I like Big Brother (UK version, only). I know; there's no need to tell me: I should be ashamed at liking such a pointless mind-numbing TV show, but I refuse to watch soaps and other reality shows, don't smoke, take drugs or drink (much), so I feel I am allowed this one single vice. Anyway, after 10 weeks and no small amount of mental self-torment, transexual Nadia was lead night led to victory like the proverbial lamb to the slaughter. I care not about the opinion of any nay-sayer or critic of the programme, though, because she deserves it entirely. There is one fact that, for me, has justified the programme's existence entirely: I have never seen any person, ever, who was so grateful (at finally being accepted for who she is) that they simply collapsed speechless with tears. It was heart-warming, I must admit. And I mean that very deeply.

Anyway, now that any good opinion you might ever have had of me has been irrevocably shattered, I'll move on...

Margaret Cannon's crime column at the Globe and Mail is up, with positive reviews across the board, tackling new releases such as Sue Grafton's R is for Richochet, Kill the Messenger by Tami Hoag (I am ANNOYED that I have to wait almost four months for this still, on top of the numerous times it's been delayed), and David Hewson's Lucifer.

Candidate for the most frustrating online newspaper? Surely the award must go to The Telegraph, updated weekly at best. Well, maybe it's not a huge frustration, but it is somewhat annoying. Today they have a great article on the cliches of reviewerspeak - some of which I'm shamefully guilty of - which I'd love to share, and a review of Louise Welsh's Tamburlaine Must Die. Incidentally, the novella is going to get reviewed live on national TV next Friday, when NewsnightReview comes from the Edinburgh Festival. Ian Rankin will be one of those on the panel. I shall of course watch it and let you know what they think.

They've also got an article on the "Da Vinci Code Pilgrimage" phenomenon, highlighting the huge rise in visitors that the Louvre and Roosslyn Chapel are seeing since the publication of the book. Links will come in due course.

The Spectator delivers yet another review of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's tremendous gothic/romantic/historical thriller The Shadow of the Wind.

Finally, want to know how to make my year? Well, showing an hour-long programme on Ruth Rendell and her work is no bad start. I heard rumours of this several weeks back, and I'm officially in a very good mood. But you already know that.