Song of the Week: “Transition” by DIRTYGIRL


The lo-fi punk band from London DIRTYGIRL offers “Transition,” a track with a tight power pop sound and vocals reminiscent of early Liz Phair.  It’s off their Junk Food EP released in October, and made known to my by The Sounds in My Head podcast.

Book Reviews: Earth, Air, Fire, and Custard by Tom Holt


Author: Tom Holt Title: Earth, Air, Fire, and Custard Publication Info: London : Orbit, 2006. Summary/Review: This is the third in a series of J.W. Wells stories where the hapless Paul Carpenter finds himself forced to work in a company that’s really a front for the magic business of a bunch of goblins.  In this adventure…

Song of the Week: “Moaning Lisa Smile” by Wolf Alice


This week’s song is “Moaning Lisa Smile” by the London band Wolf Alice from their debut album My Love Is Cool.  The sound is reminiscent of early 90s indie pop, but the video is straight out of the 80s.  Neither of which is a bad thing.  

The 44th Annual Christmas Revels


The Christmas Revels at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge are annual family tradition.  My first Revels experience was in Washington in 1996.  After moving to the Boston area, the Cambridge Revels were an annual event from 2001-2006.  We missed the show in 2007 due to a newborn, and in 2008 due to a blizzard, but have…

Movie Review: Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)


Title: Bedknobs and Broomsticks Release Date: 1971 Director: Robert Stevenson Production Co: Walt Disney Productions Country: United States Language: English Genre: Adventure | Fantasy | Family | Musicals | Animation Rating:   ***1/2 Set in Second World War England, three children have been evacuated to the countryside (oddly to a town overlooking the Channel) to stay…

Song of the Week: “Turn It Up” by Factory Floor


The London-based “post-industrial” duo makes electronic noise you can dance to on the track “Turn It Up” from their eponymous debut album.  These instructions are easy to follow.     How are you getting your groove on this week?    

Book Review: Saturday by Ian MacEwan


Author: Ian MacEwan Title: Saturday Publication Info: Recorded Books (2005) ISBN: 1419332872 Books Read By Same Author: Atonement Summary/Review: MacEwan’s novel follows a seemingly ordinary day in the life of a London neurosurgeon as he goes about his tasks and ruminates analytically on his life and work.  It’s interesting how seemingly major things (like a car crash)…

Book Review: All Clear by Connie Willis


Author: Connie Willis Title: All Clear Publication Info: New York : Spectra, 2010. ISBN: 9780553807677 Previous Works By Same Author: Lincoln’s Dreams Doomsday Book Bellwether To Say Nothing of the Dog Passage Inside Job Blackout Summary/Review: As noted in my review of Blackout this book is less of a sequel and more of a direct continuation of one lengthy work about three…

Book Review: Blackout by Connie Willis


Author: Connie Willis Title: Blackout Publication Info: ISBN: 9780553803198 Previous Works By Same Author: Lincoln’s Dreams Doomsday Book Bellwether To Say Nothing of the Dog Passage Inside Job Summary/Review: Connie Willis is one of my favorite sci-fi/fantasy authors and I particularly enjoy her take on time travel fiction in works such as Doomsday Book and To Say…

Book Review: Consequences by Penelope Lively


Author:Penelope Lively Title: Consequences Publication Info: ISBN:  9780670038565 Summary/Review: This novel begins when a woman from a wealthy family and a poor artist meet, fall in love, and marry with parental disapproval in 1930s London.  What follows is a narrative of three generations of women in the family today.  It’s a lyrical text that seems…

Book Review: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger


Author: Audrey Niffeneger Title: Her Fearful Symmetry Publication Info: New York : Scribner, 2009. ISBN: 9781439165393 Previously read by same author:  The Time Traveler’s Wife Summary/Review: As she used and refined elements of time travel mythology to create The Time Traveler’s Wife, Niffeneger uses the ghost story as a means of telling a human story…

Book Review: The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl


Long ago when I was in high school I read and enjoyed Shakespeare of London by Marchette Chute, an attempt to reconstruct William Shakespeare’s life and times as a celebrated dramatist.  Thus I was attracted to this similarly themed book The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl.  This book is built upon one…

Book Review: Bleak House by Charles Dickens


I don’t know what it is with me and Charles Dickens.  I read a book by Dickens and while my eyes scan the words and my fingers turn the pages, my brain comprehends nothing.  In the eyes and out the ears!  In college I was assigned to read Hard Times for two different classes, and…

Ireland/Britain 1998 day 41: London to home


On 2 March 1998, I went home. Sort of. I had to wake up early to make sure I made it to Heathrow Airport on time so I got promises from my French dormate Nadja and a Danish woman that they’d wake me before they left for work. I was so keyed up I didn’t…

Ireland/Britain 1998 day 40: London/Greenwich


On the first of March 1998, I made a rail journey across London to the borough of Greenwich. I had one day left on my Britrail pass so I figured I may as well use it. Part of the adventure was a transfer at Clapham Junction which claims to be the busiest station in Britain…

Ireland/Britain 1998 day 39: London


After exhausting myself the previous day, I started of 28 February 1998 rather slowly. I did some laundry even though I would be returning home in a couple of days because I wanted to have something nice to wear to the theatre. After checking my email at an internet cafe and taking care of some…

Ireland/Britain 1998 day 38: London


After more than five weeks of travel, I finally hit the wall on 27 February 1998. Most people just get plain tuckered out when constantly on the go, but I had somehow managed to keep my energy and enthusiasm up to this point. Then London just knocked it out of me. I returned to the…

Ireland/Britain 1998 day 37: Paris to London


I crossed under the Channel again on 26 February 1998, arriving in London for the final leg of my journey. I checked into O’Callaghan’s Hostel in Earls Court, which was a dump, but a dump conveniently located near a tube stop and charging only £10 per night. I indulged myself in hokum by paying a…