It’s December and for me that means only one thing: it’s Christmas. That’s just how it works. Yes, I know it’s actually Advent, and Christmas only begins on Christmas Day. But I don’t care. I’m not a Christian, and, to me, Christmas is no more about Christ than Thursday is about Thor. Christmas is about mince pies, hot alcoholic drinks, blinking lights, sentimental films, TV specials, time off work, songs, presents and family. And I love it.
But why? I’m a somewhat curmudgeonly atheist, not generally given to joining in with forced displays of jollity or sentimentalism. I usually watch what I eat and drink (well, I try to anyway). I’m, at best, indifferent to Cliff Richard. And I’m largely opposed to crass consumerism. Read more…
If I had regular readers, that is no doubt the question they would be asking me. But I don’t. So they’re not. But in case anybody was thinking it, here’s some sort of update, if for no other purpose than to tie up some loose ends. Read more…
If you live in Ireland and not under a rock, you will have noticed that for the first time in fourteen years we’re having a presidential election. Here’s a quick round-up of the candidates. One of these people will be shaking hands with visiting dignitaries and rugby players for the next seven years.
With the announcement of this year’s Man Booker Prize only two days away, I’m down to my last two books: Patrick McGuinness’s tale of the last days of Ceausescu’s Romania, The Last Hundred Days, and D. J. Taylor‘s period drama Derby Day. (See how the title of the post works on multiple levels!) There’s a good chance I’ll have one of them finished before Tuesday evening and an outside chance that I’ll finish both of them.
But the important thing for now is that I completed the shortlist. Read more…
Noted charlatan Sally Morgan recently performed a show for vulnerable and gullible people in Dublin’s Grand Canal Theatre. Depressingly, there is no shortage of demand for her fraudulent pablum and the event was sold out. It would have passed largely unnoticed outside its target demographic were it not for a caller to a radio show also beloved of provincial housewives, RTÉ Radio 1‘s Liveline. Listen here .
Sue, who was sitting at the back of the stadium near the open window of a “projection room”, claimed she heard a man’s voice saying things which were then repeated by Sally. Her take was that Morgan had plants in the foyer listening to audience members share their stories, and then relaying them to her.
Another caller, sitting a few rows in front, confirmed her story.
Now this could well be the case. Many others who make a living pretending to be psychic have used this method. But I don’t think this particular fraud makes her fortune in quite that manner. Or at least not this time. Here’s why:
Boy, was I wrong! But not as wrong as the Man Booker Prize judges. Here’s the shortlist they’ve just announced:
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
Snowdrops by A.D. Miller
The Man Booker Prize shortlist will be announced later today. Here’s my guess as to which of the books will make it, based on what I’ve read so far.
I think the above three are virtually certain to make the shortlist. I’m considerably less confident about the rest, especially as I haven’t read them all.
But I’m going to go for:
- Booker prize shortlist 2011: who do you think will be on it? (guardian.co.uk)
- Booker shortlist to be announced (bbc.co.uk)