East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Insomnia Movies: The Stone Tape

Yesterday my friend Lucy did a great post about Quatermass and the Pit (the article is in Italian, but you can use Google Translate) so I decided I’d like to watch it again. To me Quatermass and the Pit in color is always a strange experience because I first saw it on the telly, when I was a kid, and it was in black and white and I still remember it in black and white.


But anyway, I was not able to find my copy, that lies buried somewhere. So, as I was going through a bout of insomnia and I was in a Quatermass kind of mood, I picked up another thing by Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale, and I re-watched The Stone Tape. And then I thought I’d do a post about it.
Here we go. Continue reading


An unusual writer’s resource – QI

qi-logoIt started because I wanted to dust off my English – because reading and writing is all right, but you need to keep your ear trained for the spoken language.
So I went for a few BBC programs available on Youtube. People talking, with a variety of accents.
Talk shows, comedy shows, and panel shows.

Now, panel shows are something that does not exist in my country.
Basically it is a bunch of guys and girls – usually TV personalities, stand up comedians and actors – sitting around and talking about some kind of subject, following some kind of loose TV game show format.
It was as I was looking for these shows that I discovered one of the best – and most idiosincratic – writer resources on the web.
It’s a show called QI (short for Quite Interesting) and it’s simply great. Continue reading

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Reading “Radio Girls”

As I mentioned the other day, I am reading a good book, and good books are a (relatively) cheap gateway to escape dread and depression.
And to learn new things.
The novel I am reading is Radio Girls, by Sarah-Jane Stratford.


Set between 1926 and 1930, Radio Girls is the story of Maisie Musgrave, a Canadian anglophile that is hired as a secretary for the newly created British Broadcasting Company (later Corporation), and becomes a witness in the early development of what is going to be called “talk radio”.
But hidden beneath the comedy and the mystery plot of the novel, is a well-researched story – the story of Hattie Matheson, the first director of the “talk” department of the BBC. Continue reading