Rock around the clock – Candle in the wind

Book review – Keystone by Peter Lovesey

“The moment Warwick Easton, an aspiring English actor, enters the crazy world of Keystone Film Studios, he knows he is in for a rough ride. Producer Mack Sennett, the “King of Comedy” insists on calling him Keystone – but comedy swiftly turns to crime.  Shocking things occur which are not in any script – a horrific death on a roller coaster… a body in a bungalow… a shooting on the beach.  Keystone the Cop gets on the trail – his mission to find the blonde actress, Amber Honeybee. But he soon ends up playing detective for real, with deadly stakes of bribery, kidnap and murder…”

Peter Lovesey books are in a category of their own.  Technically mysteries, Peter’s wit and larger than life characters add quite a large touch of whimsy.  Being set on a film set for Keystone Cops films, this one has even more slapstick quality than most.  I enjoy his books immensely and yet I can’t quite get rid of the feeling that I am wasting my time and “should” be reading something deeper.  Not mysterious enough to be called “thrilling”, not humorous enough to be “hilarious”, and yet thoroughly entertaining.  I get the feeling that Peter Lovesey gets enormous pleasure himself in conjuring up his characters and plots.

America’s Weapons of Mass Destruction

Film Review – War Dance

“War Dance tells the story of Uganda’s brutal civil war through the eyes of a group of children whose love of music brings joy, excitement and hope back into their poverty-stricken lives. Dominic, Nancy and Rose have lived in the most dangerous part of the war zone and witnessed unimaginable atrocities. War Dance follows their historic journey as they compete for the first time in the finals of Uganda’s National Music and Dance Competition. Devastated by the horrors of war, they carry the hopes and dreams of their entire village with them as they struggle to be crowned national champion. A stirring tale about the power of the human spirit to triumph against tremendous odds”

This film really touches where it hurts.

Nancy, aged 14, showing her grief at the gravesite of her father who was hacked to pieces by rebel soldiers, is a scene that I could  never forget.

Nor her saying to her mother – “feeling sad about his death all the time doesn’t change anything does it”

It is a story of unbelievable sadness and that people could overcome such grief as these people have suffered is hard to imagine.

But as the elderly man who teaches the children their traditional dances and songs says – “the fighting has left us with a lot of scars – but that is not where the story ends”

To find out more about where the story ends visit here

Book Review – The Cuckoo’s Parting Cry

“For Fidgie, growing up in the 1930’s the long school holiday stretched blissfully ahead. With her new friend Chaz as companion for idyllic summer days by the sea, she was able to frequently to escape her edgy mother and her malicious older sister, Cly. Her father, mercifully, was away from home…

Through Fidgies’s clear eyes the events of a brief hot spell in August unfold: her family and neighbours become involved in adultery, deception, and other darker misdemeanours. The eight year old is an engaging and lively narrator; swept along in her extraordinarily compelling tale, the reader will realise that underlying Fidgies’s innocent accounts of family meals, fishing trips round the bay, tree-climbing and playing at May Queens, a very adult sub-text is developing. Its conclusion is both tragic and inevitable”

This is the first novel byAnthea Halliwell, published in 1998

I enjoyed the first half of this book – the idea of adult actions being narrated through the voice of a child was interesting.  But the view of the child was not convincingly that of an eight year old.  At times there was complete innocence but at other times her behaviour was that of a much older child.  While some children clearly had a much freer existence in the 1930’s than they do today I would have liked a clearer picture of the era – it just didn’t quite ring true.  By the time I was three parts through the book I began to wonder if it had in fact been written for a teenage, or younger, readership but the adult themes would suggest not.

It was an  idea that didn’t quite work for me but I will  be interested to see if the author has followed up with anything else.

Lunch at the Firepot cafe

Lunched yesterday at the Firepot cafe in Gordonton. (New Zealand)
The first feature we liked was that there is plenty of parking – this matters to us as Bill, my partner, can not walk a long distance.
The staff gave us a friendly welcome and offered the brunch menu.
Bill ordered Eggs Benedict and I had something called a Breakfast Stack.
The meal was served with a minimal waiting time, the coffee was excellent and we both rated the quality of the food as 8/10.
The price was around the usual that we expect to pay for this sort of meal.

A very tiny  corner of the cafe held an eclectic assortment of items for sale, very cleverly arranged to make a striking display.

Definitely a place to visit again.